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take a shellacking
1. To be thoroughly beaten or thrashed; to suffer rough treatment or abuse. My younger brother was always a shy, skinny kid who often took a shellacking from schoolyard bullies. My feet have taken a shellacking from hiking in these old sneakers.
2. To be soundly defeated or bested; to lose by a wide margin. Their team's inexperience showed on the pitch today, as they took a shellacking from the powerful squad from New Zealand.
1. slang Severely beaten or battered; thrashed. Primarily heard in US. I walked into a rough part of town and got shellacked by a groups of thugs.
2. slang Decisively defeated or dominated. Primarily heard in US. We knew we didn't have any chance of winning the game, so our goal was not to get completely shellacked.
3. dated slang Extremely drunk; plastered. I've gotta get up early for work tomorrow, so I can't be here getting shellacked until all hours of the night.
1. slang A severe physical beating or thrashing. The school bullies gave Tom a shellacking after he insulted them in the hallway.
2. slang A decisive defeat or domination, as in sports. We knew we didn't have any chance of winning the game, so our goal was just to avoid a complete shellacking.
1. Fig. a physical beating. (*Typically: get ~; take ~; give someone ~.) The boxer took a shellacking and lost the fight. I got a shellacking when I broke the window.
2. Fig. a beating—as in sports. (*Typically: get ~; take ~; give someone ~.) Our team played well, but got a shellacking anyway. I practiced my tennis game so I wouldn't take a shellacking in the tournament.
take a shellacking
Be soundly beaten or defeated, as in Our team took quite a shellacking last night. Why being coated with shellac should suggest defeat is not clear. [Slang; c. 1930]
1. mod. beaten; outscored. They were shellacked, and they knew it.
2. mod. alcohol intoxicated; overcome by booze. Ernie was so shellacked he couldn’t see.
n. a beating. We gave them a shellacking they’ll never forget.