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1. A sailor who has crossed the equator.
2. A veteran sailor.

[From the toughness of such a sailor.]


1. (Nautical Terms) informal a sailor who has crossed the equator. Compare polliwog2
2. (Nautical Terms) an experienced or old sailor



1. a veteran sailor.
2. a person who has crossed the equator aboard ship.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The amazingly powerful storm sequence affirms "solidarity" For instance, two bearded shellbacks show protective warmth and care for the boy Charley one trying to provoke him into spiritedness ('"Twill make a blooming man of you, sonny.
In the process of undergoing this ancient maritime ritual, we were all transformed from lowly Pollywogs into seagoing Shellbacks.
After lowering a crab net he cast a mackerel fillet, hoping to attract a bass or thornback while the shellbacks took a one-way trip down below.
The image associated with shellbacks is that of a turtle, while the meaning of pollywog is that of an infant frog, before metamorphosis.
The Yukon's newly-baptized shellbacks could toast the occasion in the log cabin mess on 2 deck.
They're throwaway boats, dinghies with lids- they'll never last" croak the shellbacks who sail the yacht club bars.
Co-feature: After two near victories in recent stakes races at Del Mar and Kentucky, Shellbacks finally got the nod in Monday's co-feature, winning the $75,000 Henry P.
Upon our return we were elevated from Pollywogs to Shellbacks.
I've already won a Grade 1 with Toga Toga Toga [1997 Santa Monica Handicap], and I've also won some other stakes races with Tom Cruiser and Shellbacks.
During the ceremony the shellbacks `haze' the wogs, regardless of rank.
Finally the shellbacks that made up most of the general staffs began to realize that a high rate of firepower could be advantageous under certain circum-stances and Austria-Hungary, France (Kropatschek), Germany, Turkey (Mauser), and the United States (Lee and Hotchkiss) all took repeating rifles into service.
Conrad himself, while his seagoing years fell further away, developed further his paean to sea-virtue, until his finest captains were Quixotic shellbacks exempt from the world of betrayers.