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From Middle English schaver; equivalent to shave +‎ -er.

In its meaning of a boy, lad, recorded since 1592, the word shaver has also been postulated to derive from Romani chavo (young man), which also gives us the modern slang chav, ultimately derived from Sanskrit छा (chā, young animal).



shaver (plural shavers)

  1. One who shaves.
  2. A barber, one whose occupation is to shave.
  3. A tool or machine for shaving; an electric razor.
  4. (slang, obsolete) An extortionate bargainer; a sharper.
    • 1723, John Arbuthnot, letter to Jonathan Swift
      The shaver is an honest friendly man as before: he has a good deal to do to smother his Welsh fire, which, you know, he has in a greater degree than some would imagine. He posts himself a good part of the year in some warm house, wins the ladies money at ombre, and convinces them, that they are highly obliged to him.
  5. One who fleeces; a pillager; a plunderer.
    • 1603, Richard Knolles, The Generall Historie of the Turkes, [], London: [] Adam Islip, OCLC 837543169:
      By these shavers the Turks were stripped.
  6. (colloquial) A boy; a lad; a little fellow.
    • 1860 December – 1861 August, Charles Dickens, chapter V, in Great Expectations [], volume I, London: Chapman and Hall, [], published October 1861, OCLC 3359935, page 62:
      "Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen," said the sergeant, "but as I have mentioned at the door to this young shaver" (which he hadn't), "I am on a chase in the name of the King, and I want the blacksmith."



  • Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “shaver”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  • Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts, G.&C. Merriam Co., 1967