conker

\ \ [19] A conker was originally a ‘snail shell’. Small boys tied them on to pieces of string and played a game involving trying to break their opponent’s shell (another method of playing was simply to press two shells together and see which one broke). The first record of the use of horse chestnuts instead of snail shells is from the 1880s, but in the succeeding century this has established itself as the word’s sole application. It is not entirely clear where it originally came from. The connection with molluscs has inevitably suggested a derivation from conch (itself ultimately from Greek kónkhē), but early 19th-century spellings of the game as conquering, and of conker as conqueror, point to a simpler explanation, that the stronger snail shell defeated, or ‘conquered’, the weaker.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Conker — Personnage de fiction Genre masculin Espèce Écureuil …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Conker — may refer to: Horse chestnuts The seed of the horse chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum Conkers, a traditional children s game, using the seed threaded on a string Video games Conker (series), a video game franchise by Rare Conker s Pocket Tales,… …   Wikipedia

  • conker — ► NOUN Brit. 1) the hard shiny dark brown nut of a horse chestnut tree. 2) (conkers) (treated as sing. ) a children s game in which each has a conker on a string and tries to break another s with it. ORIGIN dialect, «snail shell» (with which the… …   English terms dictionary

  • conker — conk er (k[o^][ng]k [ e]r), n. the inedible nutlike seed of the horsechestnut. Syn: buckeye, horsechestnut, horse chestnut. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • conker — snail shell, also horse chestnut, from children s game of CONKERS (Cf. conkers) (q.v.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • conker — [käŋ′kər] n. [Brit dial., orig., a snail shell (< CONCH + ER): the game was orig. played with shells] Brit. 1. [pl., with sing. v.] a child s game played with horse chestnuts tied to strings 2. a horse chestnut …   English World dictionary

  • conker — [19] A conker was originally a ‘snail shell’. Small boys tied them on to pieces of string and played a game involving trying to break their opponent’s shell (another method of playing was simply to press two shells together and see which one… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • conker — [[t]kɒ̱ŋkə(r)[/t]] conkers 1) N COUNT Conkers are round brown nuts which come from horse chestnut trees. [BRIT] 2) N UNCOUNT Conkers is a children s game in which you tie a conker to a piece of string and try to break your opponent s conker by… …   English dictionary

  • conker — con·ker || kÉ’Å‹kÉ™ n. fruit of a chestnut; (British) string game played with chestnuts, type of game in which a child swings a conker with a string through it trying to break another child s conker with it …   English contemporary dictionary

  • conker — UK [ˈkɒŋkə(r)] / US [ˈkɑŋkər] noun Word forms conker : singular conker plural conkers British 1) [countable] the large shiny brown seed of the horse chestnut tree 2) conkers [uncountable] a children s game in which players try to hit and break… …   English dictionary

  • conker — /ˈkɒŋkə/ (say kongkuh) noun British 1. Colloquial a horse chestnut. 2. (plural) a children s game in which one child swings a conker, which has been threaded on a string, in an attempt to break an opponent s conker. {British dialect: snail shell… …   Australian English dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.