a cupronickel coin and former monetary unit of the United Kingdom, the 20th part of a pound, equal to 12 pence: retained in circulation equal to 5 new pence after decimalization in 1971. Abbreviation: s.
a former monetary unit of various other nations, as Australia, Fiji, Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, and Nigeria, equal to one twentieth of a pound or 12 pence.
the monetary unit of Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda, equal to 100 cents.
any of various coins and moneys of account used in various parts of the U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries.

before 900; Middle English; Old English scilling; cognate with Dutch schelling, German Schilling, Old Norse skillingr, Gothic skillings Unabridged


[shil] Slang.
a person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating, as at a gambling house, auction, confidence game, etc.
a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.
verb (used without object)
to work as a shill: He shills for a large casino.
verb (used with object)
to advertise or promote (a product) as or in the manner of a huckster; hustle: He was hired to shill a new TV show.

1920–25; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shill (ʃɪl)
slang a confidence trickster's assistant, esp a person who poses as an ordinary customer, gambler, etc, in order to entice others to participate
[C20: perhaps shortened from shillaber a circus barker, of unknown origin]

shilling (ˈʃɪlɪŋ)
1.  s, Abbreviation: sh a former British and Australian silver or cupronickel coin worth one twentieth of a pound: not minted in Britain since 1970
2.  the standard monetary unit of Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda: divided into 100 cents
3.  an old monetary unit of the US varying in value in different states
4.  (Scot) (in combination) /- an indication of the strength and character of a beer, referring to the price after duty that was formerly paid per barrel: sixty-shilling
[Old English scilling; related to Old Norse skillingr, Gothic skilliggs, Old High German skilling]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1916, "one who acts as a decoy for a gambler, auctioneer, etc." (probably originally circus or carnival argot), probably a shortened form of shillaber (1913) with the same meaning, origin unknown. The verb is attested from 1914.

O.E. scilling, a coin consisting of a varying number of pence (on the continent, a common scale was 12 pennies to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound), from P.Gmc. *skillingoz- (cf. O.S., Dan., Swed., O.Fris., O.H.G. skilling, O.N. skillingr, Du. schelling, Ger. Schilling, Goth. skilliggs), which some
etymologists trace to the base *skell- "to resound, to ring," and others to the base *skel- "to split, to divide" (perhaps via sense of "shield;" see shield). The ending may represent the dim. suffix -ling. O.C.S. skulezi, Sp. escalin, Fr. schelling, It. scellino are Gmc. loan-words.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

shill definition

  1. n.
    someone planted in the crowd to urge others to buy something, participate in something, etc. : The guy's a shill! Don't fall for this setup!
  2. in.
    to advertise for something; to give a sales pitch for something. : Four stars of an old television show were there shilling for a major computer firm.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see cut off (with a shilling).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


former English and British coin, nominally valued at one-twentieth of a pound sterling, or 12 pence. The shilling was also formerly the monetary unit of Australia, Austria, New Zealand, and Ireland. Today it is the basic monetary unit in Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Uganda.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The marchers are not pulling for any one party, nor are they shilling for tertiary issues.
Incredibly kitschy and stiff, but still out there shilling.
Psst your friends may be shilling for a soap company.
Without you, they won't see my shilling in that house.
Idioms & Phrases
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