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

  • n. A side road taken to avoid the tolls or traffic of a turnpike.
  • intransitive v. To travel on side roads, avoiding turnpikes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To take an unnecessarily long route in order to avoid traffic and/or toll booths.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A road or byway so situated, by intent or not, that travelers may avoid paying toll on the turnpike which is the main thoroughfare. Such a road may be closed by injunction.


shun + (turn)pike.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Blend of shun and turnpike (Wiktionary)


  • Hurrying to a livery-stable, he hired a horse and buggy and a lantern, and drove to the shunpike.

    The Captain's Toll-Gate

  • There was a road which branched off from the turnpike, about a mile from the town, and which, after some windings, entered the pike again beyond the toll-gate, and although this road was not always in very good condition, it had seen a good deal of travel, which, in time, gave it the name of the shunpike.

    The Captain's Toll-Gate

  • But since Captain Asher had lived at the toll-gate it was remarked that the shunpike was not used as much as in former times.

    The Captain's Toll-Gate

  • He wandered about so long and asked so many questions that it was getting dark when he suddenly thought of the shunpike.

    The Captain's Toll-Gate

  • She seemed to have something on her mind, and presently she proposed to Mr. Morris that he should take the shunpike for a change.

    The Captain's Toll-Gate

  • It would be impossible for the girl who had talked so sweetly, so earnestly, so straight from her heart, when he had met her on the shunpike, to marry such a mountebank as this fellow, generous as he might be with that which could never belong to him.

    The Captain's Toll-Gate

  • He did not for a moment think she might return by the shunpike, for that was a rough road, not fit for a bicycle.

    The Captain's Toll-Gate

  • "If you can only manage that that woman takes the shunpike whenever she drives this way, I shall be perfectly satisfied with everything just as it is."

    The Captain's Toll-Gate

  • (A shunpike is not a person but a free road that parallels a toll road.)

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol V No 1

  • a girl on a bicycle; and thus it was that he passed the entrance to the shunpike without noticing that a bicycle track turned into it.

    The Captain's Toll-Gate


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  • A person who prefers travelling by back roads rather than tollways or major roads. From shun + (turn)pike.

    February 3, 2008