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Noun sense: shellac is used in floor polish; compare polishing, as in "the other boxer in the match polished the floor with me; I took quite a polishing".



  1. present participle of shellac


shellacking (plural shellackings)

  1. (informal, US) A heavy defeat, drubbing, or beating; used particularly in sports and political contexts.
    • 1929 The Typographical Journal, vol. 75 (July, 1929), p. 49:
      The News baseball team defeated the Press-Guardian outfit, 8 to 4, in a recent game, which squares accounts for the shellacking the News received a year ago.
    • 1929 Time, "National Affairs: Vote Castings", November 18, 1929:
      Mourned Candidate La Guardia: "What a shellacking they gave me!"
    • 1929 The Leatherneck, vol. 12 (December, 1929), p. 21:
      Our baseball team got off to an indifferent start at the beginning of the season, but [] "Steve" Newman gave Gonzalo another shellacking that he won't forget for some time.
    • 1944 Frank Marshall Davis, "Defeats of the Home Front" (news article, February 23, 1944; reprinted in Writings of Frank Marshall Davis: A Voice of the Black Press, University Press of Mississippi, 2009, p. 126):
      Unity and democracy are still taking a shellacking here on the home front, despite our successes in the Marshall Islands and in Italy.
    • 2009 Lee Hamilton, Strengthening Congress, p. 69:
      After many months of watching its public image take a shellacking as a result of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, Congress finally started to move on lobby reform.
    • 2010 Peter Baker, "What Does He Do Now?", The New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2010:
      [C]learly Obama hopes that just as Clinton recovered from his party's midterm shellacking in 1994 to win re-election two years later, so can he.
    • 2010 Ben Shpigel, "Charmed Giants Take a Big First Step," The New York Times, October 28, 2010:
      Bochy was speaking for the masses, who watched a supposed duel of Cy Young award winners evolve into a full-fledged shellacking.
    • 2010 November 4, Barack Obama, comments at a press conference, after his political party lost control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections:
      Now, I'm not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I took last night.
    • 2015 AFL Grand Final, West Coast Eagles copped a shellacking. If they turned up to the game prior to the second half, they may have been in the Contest.