Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An unlicensed drinking establishment, especially in Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An unlicensed drinking establishment, especially in Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A low public house; especially, a place where spirits and other excisable liquors are illegally and privately sold.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A shop or house where excisable liquors are sold without the license required by law.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. unlicensed drinking establishment

Etymologies

Irish Gaelic séibín, measure of grain, grain tax, bad ale, diminutive of séibe, mug, bottle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Perhaps from Irish seibin ("small mug; poor-qualty beer"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Gabriel knew the story from his father, from the time when he had been Portcullis Pursuivant of the City's Civil Registry Records at the House of Honours and Heraldry. It was a story that his father liked to tell a little bit too often and it was he who had started spreading the rumour around various bars and shebeens until he had been deemed a nuisance and "put on ice.""
    Aurorarama by Jean-Christophe Valtat, p 180

    July 23, 2011

  • "The public houses, taverns, ordinaries, and pothouses in Charlotte were doing a roaring business, as delegates, spectators, and hangers-on seethed through them, men of Loyalist sentiments collecting in the King's Arms, those of rabidly opposing views in the Blue Boar, with shifting currents of the unallied and undecided eddying to and fro, purling through the Goose and Oyster, Thomas's ordinary, the Groats, Simon's, Buchanan's, Mueller's, and two or three nameless places that barely qualified as shebeens."
    —Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (New York: Bantam Dell, 2005), 729

    February 3, 2010

  • "...at their meeting-place, which could have been taken for a crossroads shebeen in the Bog of Allen but for the absence of rain or mud and the presence of three sorts of wild parrot on its sagging thatched roof..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Nutmeg of Consolation, 294

    March 9, 2008

  • August 17, 2007