shills

shill

[shil] Slang.
noun
1.
a person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating, as at a gambling house, auction, confidence game, etc.
2.
a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.
verb (used without object)
3.
to work as a shill: He shills for a large casino.
verb (used with object)
4.
to advertise or promote (a product) as or in the manner of a huckster; hustle: He was hired to shill a new TV show.

Origin:
1920–25; origin uncertain

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shill (ʃɪl)
 
n
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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

shill
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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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