Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shilling n.

[a shilling (5p) had 12 pence; 20 shillings comprised one pound sterling; var. on not all there adj.]

[late 19C+] used in phrs. listed below referring to one considered a simpleton, a fool.

In phrases

full shilling (adj.)

1. [1940s+] (Aus./N.Z.) sensible, intelligent, aware, trustworthy, ‘all there’; esp. in negative phr. not (quite) the full shilling etc, not very intelligent, slightly eccentric, odd (cf. full quid, the under full adj.).

2. [1960s] (Irish) the proper, complete thing.

ha’penny short of a shilling (also penny short..., three kopecks short of a rouble, three pence short...)

[20C+] unintelligent, eccentric.

ninepence short of a shilling

[1980s] stupid, foolish.

no more than ninepence in the shilling (also no more than elevenpence in the shilling, tenpence halfpenny in the shilling)

foolish, stupid, lacking intelligence.

only eighteen shillings [‘in the pound’ is assumed]

[1980s] stupid, foolish.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

shilling shocker (n.) (also shilling dreadful, shocker)

[late 19C–1920s] a short sensational novel, published at a shilling (5p).

shilling tabernacle (n.)

[late 19C] a Baptist or Methodist tea-meeting, where refreshment was available at a shilling (5p) a head.

In phrases

shilling in (and the winner shouts) (n.) [var. on bob in under bob n.3 ]

[late 19C–1900s] (Aus./N.Z.) a bar-room dice gambling game in which everyone puts one shilling (5p) in a kitty and the winner pays for the round (and poss. makes a small profit).