Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shell n.

1. [mid-18C] the female body.

2. [mid-18C–19C] the vagina.

3. [19C] (US Und.) a safe.

4. [late 19C–1910s] (US) a portion of opium.

5. [late 19C–1910s] (Aus.) a coffin.

6. [1900s] (Aus./US) a corpse.

7. (Aus.) an ear.

8. [1910s–20s] a hearse.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

shell-back (n.) [the image of a slow-moving turtle]

1. [late 19C+] orig. of sailors, a veteran; thence an ultra-conservative, slow-witted person.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

shell game (n.) [late 19C+]

1. (also nutshell racket) a swindling game in which a small object is concealed under a walnut shell or the like; the manipulator then moves the shells round at speed; bets are made on the shell under which the object is found.

2. a generic for any form of confidence trick.

shell road (v.) [SAmE shell road, a back road having a bed or layer of shells]

[1900s–30s] (US) to throw a person, often a woman who refuses to have sex, out of a vehicle and thus force them to walk home an inconvenient and poss. embarrassing distance.

shell worker (n.) (also shell man, shell spieler) [worker n.1 (1)]

[late 19C–1940s] (US Und.) one who operates a shell game

shell wroughter (n.)

[1920s] (Aus. Und.) one who operates a shell game