give (someone or something) a shellacking

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give (someone or something) a shellacking

1. To thoroughly beat or thrash someone or something; to give someone or something rough treatment or abuse. My younger brother was always a shy, skinny kid, so schoolyard bullies often gave him a shellacking. These old sneakers really gave my feet a shellacking while we were hiking.
2. To soundly defeat or best someone or something, especially by a wide margin. Their team's inexperience showed on the field today, as a seemingly unstoppable New England team gave them a shellacking. The rival party has given them an absolute shellacking in the recent elections—they've lost nearly two thirds of their seats in Congress.
See also: give, shellac
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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