1. (also shillaber, shiller, shilliber, shilliver) any form of criminal who poses as a member of the public to lure victims, usu. into confidence tricks.
|Indiana (PA) Weekly Messenger 14 Mar. 1/5: The room is always small, with an office at one end where the swindled purchaser pays for what he buys, and so situated as to protect the shillaber in his sham purchase or the victim from the gaze of the crowd, for it is not prudent to have two ‘guys’ at a time at the cashier’s desk.|
|Vocab. Criminal Sl. 75: shilliver, shilliber [...] Current among criminals who employ ‘Stalls,’ ‘boosters,’ or aides. A supernumerary; a secondary; an epithet applied to apprentice crooks.|
|New York Day by Day 30 July [synd. col.] The ‘shillaber’ tells the actor of a poker player who likes to make big bets but is an awful sucker.|
|You Can’t Win (2000) 151: His ‘cappers,’ ‘boosters,’ and ‘shills’ fought with the yokels for a chance to get something for nothing and always beat them to the pieces of soap containing the money.|
|‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 462: Shillaber, The barker at a circus or carnival.|
|Barker 150: Shill – A decoy for the townspeople.|
|Sat. Eve. Post 13 April; list extracted in AS VI:2 (1930) 134: shiller, n. Confidence man.‘Chatter of Guns’ in|
|Prison Community (1940) 330/2: booster, n. [...] a steerer, a shillaber. [Ibid.] 335/2: shill, n. A steerer or ‘come along man’ for a show or a racket.|
|Und. and Prison Sl. 66: shill, shiller, n. One who brings trade to a gambling or con game and who cons the marks into playing.|
|Stag Line 147: The shill can take over—can’t you, Mosey?|
|Spanish Blood (1946) 175: She’s a shill for a gambler and she’s got her hooks into a rich man’s pup.‘Trouble Is My Business’ in|
|Bardin Omnibus (1976) 79: Wives of entrepreneurs, lady shills – all of these were considered ‘artists’; as well as their counterparts [...] who operated the ‘sucker’ games.Deadly Pecheron in|
|DAUL 191/2: Shillaber. [...] Shiller. (Southern variant) See Shill, n.et al.|
|Men of the Und. 325: Shill, An accomplice of a carnival swindler or thief.|
|Teen-Age Gangs 167: Next time let me know when you plan to use me as a shill.|
|Across the Board 98: The commissions they got as shills they blew on betting.|
|(con. 1950) Band of Brothers 66: Went to work as a shill for an auction house.|
|Mad mag. Apr. 30: My mother ran off with a carnival shill in 1946.|
|Rage in Harlem (1969) 53: They’re using a shill... to bring in the suckers blindfolded.|
|Texas Stories (1995) 139: Doggy Hooper, the shill in the paint-stained cap.‘The Last Carousel’ in|
|Signs of Crime 200: Shill A decoy, particularly in fraud or the three-card trick, who lures or encourages a victim.|
|Dead Zone (1980) 178: You think this fellow Dussault was [...] a shill?|
|(con. 1940s–60s) Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 152: They informed me they were making the hole together as partners, with Bill learning to act as a shill and cover-up man for Phil.‘Bill Burroughs’ in|
|Grand Central Winter (1999) 233: A few peep-show shills look on with vague interest.|
|Lingo 50: Contacts with the USA have given us shill, a con-man’s collaborator; stool-pigeon, an informer [...] and probably heat, meaning pressure from the authorities.|
|Comments on Etymology Feb. 16: (I knew I was supposed to give those prizes back to the guys who gave them to me, without being obvious about it.) They used my wins as bait for their victims. I couldn’t have told you what a ‘shill’ was back then, but I played the role without understanding the implications.in|
|(con. 1973) Johnny Porno 240: Nick didn’t appreciate being a stand-in for Albano or a shill for the police.|
2. (US Und.) an apprentice criminal.
|see sense 1.|
3. (gambling) a house player in a casino.
|Omnibus (2006) 223: Lowry won a lot of jack in one of ben’s crap game [...] and Ben wanted him to kick back with it - said everybody that worked for him was automatically a shill and couldn’t play for keeps.‘Black’ in|
|Opium Addiction in Chicago 125: He used to ‘hang around’ the gambling ‘joints,’ and one of his last jobs was to play the ‘shill’.|
|Man with the Golden Arm 100: Schwiefka’s shills [...] killed the hours before the suckers’ hours with call-rummy.|
|Long Wait (1954) 20: The gambling rooms were paying high for bouncers, croupiers, dealers, shills and whatnot.|
|(con. 1920s) Hoods (1953) 180: ‘About twenty-five are shills,’ [...] ‘The rest are pure, unadulterated suckers.’.|
|Flat 4 King’s Cross (1966) 51: [B]ut I must never bet myself, and I must never suggest on what a patron might bet, in case he lost and people thought I was acting as a ‘shill’ for the house.|
|Semi-Tough 94: Not bad lookers for Vegas shills.|
4. a promotion or, used fig., anyone who advocates something enthusiastically; thus also a promotion.
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 517: The steward of the diner weighs in with a strong shill for this fish.‘Cemetery Bait’ in|
|Good Deeds Must Be Punished 114: You need a shill. [...] A business promoter.|
|Reinhart in Love (1963) 131: ‘Praise God and not the Devil,’ shouted one of the Maker’s male shills.|
|(con. 1949) True Confessions (1979) 237: Protectors of the Poor. It would take Ruben Aguilar to come up with a name like that [...] What shill.|
|Tourist Season (1987) 364: An object lesson for all those bootlicking shills and hustlers.|
|Where Dead Voices Gather (ms.) 271: Izzy had once worked for Harry Von Tilzer as a lowly boomer, a shill paid to applaud and enthuse wildly at the performance of any song published by the house of Von Tilzer.|
5. a member of the three-card monte team who appears to be another innocent gambler and who lures players into the game.
|Big Con 6: One of his accomplices (a shill) bet a dollar and picked out the queen.|
|N.Y. Times 15 Dec. SM16: Shill: a confidence man’s assistant.|
|On the Stroll 107: He’d been a shill and a lookout in other mens’ games, but now he wanted to move up into his own game.|
|Tuff 156: Charles and Smush would be the supporting players, shills whose duties were purposely to obscure the mark’s view of the table, arousing his curiosity.|
6. a confidence trick.
|Paco’s Story (1987) 4: And the geeks and freaks [...] hear the dipstick yokels soaking up a shill like that.|
7. a spokesperson – the implication is of mendacity – for an institution.
|Rivethead (1992) 30: I hadn’t even worked a day yet for General Motors and already I didn’t trust these shills.|
|Generation Kill ep. 4 [TV script] This fucking shill of god [i.e. a chaplain], he can’t cover his sector.‘Combat Jack’|
(US Und.) to get in to an entertainment free.
|Gay-cat 304: Shill Through—to go free, as into a circus.|