take a shellacking

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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.
See also: shellac, take

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]
See also: shellac, take