Definitions

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

  • n. Chiefly British A mark aimed at in throwing contests.
  • n. Chiefly British The throw in a throwing contest.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A game in which trinkets are set upon sticks, to be thrown at by the players; -- so called from an ancient popular sport which consisted in shying or throwing cudgels at live cocks.
  • n. An object at which stones are flung.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A game in which trinkets are set upon sticks, to be thrown at by the players; -- so called from an ancient popular sport which consisted in “shying” or throwing cudgels at live cocks.
  • n. An object at which stones are flung.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The act of throwing stones or other missiles at a mark or target.
  • n. The object at which the shy is made; a mark or target.
  • n. A booth or other establishment, as at a fair, where for a small fee one may secure the privilege of having a certain number of shies at some object, such as a negro's head, and receive a prize (a cigar or the like) if successful.

Etymologies

From an old game in which sticks were shied at a cock.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • He had seen Tom Ricketts, of the fourth form, who used to wear a jacket and trousers so ludicrously tight, that the elder boys could not forbear using him in the quality of a butt or 'cockshy' -- he had seen this very Ricketts arrayed in crimson and gold, with an immense bear-skin cap on his head, staggering under the colours of the regiment.

    The History of Pendennis

  • When it was a kitten some young Plymborough roughs had hurled it into the little river, and were making of it what they termed a "cockshy," pelting it with stones, fortunately ineffectually, and trying to beat it under water, when the Doctor's footman, who was crossing the bridge, saw what was going on and made an unexpected charge upon the young ruffians, effectually scattering them.

    Glyn Severn's Schooldays

  • Freed from the necessity of a systematic delineation Smollett rambles about Nice, its length and breadth, with a stone in his pouch, and wherever a cockshy is available he takes full advantage of it.

    Travels through France and Italy

  • "We will make a cockshy of you if you don't look out," said one; and another actually threw a stone at him, an example which others were preparing to follow, when Crawley, with a group of boys who had seen nothing of the early part of the business, came up, and seemed inclined to take the Italian's part.

    Dr. Jolliffe's Boys

  • Russell's Top was another "Apex" and a cockshy for any enemy guns that were within range.

    The 28th: A Record of War Service in the Australian Imperial Force, 1915-19, Vol. I Egypt, Gallipoli, Lemnos Island, Sinai Peninsula

  • It was difficult to give a definite point for all these troops to move on, for we had been warned against retiring through villages, as they were naturally made a cockshy of by the enemy's guns.

    The Doings of the Fifteenth Infantry Brigade August 1914 to March 1915

  • Personally I think that it was due to the house only being indicated on the map, whilst the stables, 200 yards off, which were perpetually being shelled, were marked in heavy black, and were a cockshy for the

    The Doings of the Fifteenth Infantry Brigade August 1914 to March 1915

  • "I didn't know it was doing wrong to have a cockshy," said Dexter.

    Quicksilver The Boy With No Skid To His Wheel

  • ‘cockshy’ — he had seen this very Ricketts arrayed in crimson and gold, with an immense bear-skin cap on his head, staggering under the colours of the regiment.

    The History of Pendennis

  • Alas! on one occasion Knighton was skilful enough to smash a chemist's blue bottle with an apple, ” and on another I am aware that an oil lamp in Carthusian Street succumbed to my only too-true cockshy:

    My Life as an Author

Comments

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  • Your comments inspired me to start a list.

    October 20, 2010

  • Marky, there was a discussion about the Century Dictionary somewhere, I guess on homosexuality.

    October 20, 2010

  • such as a negro's head!?!? omg racist!

    October 20, 2010

  • not what I thought it meant...

    October 20, 2010

  • Object of criticism or ridicule. (from Phrontistery)

    May 24, 2008