A shack is a type of small house that is in disrepair. The word may derive from the Nahuatl (Aztec) word "xacalli" or "adobe house" by way of Mexican Spanish "xacal"/"jacal", which has the same meaning as "shack" [] . It was a common usage among people of Mexican ancestry throughout the U.S. southwest and was picked up by speakers of American English.

In Australia, particularly in Tasmania [Matthew Newton, Shack Life: Tasmanian shacks and shack culture (2003) ISBN 0646428780 ] , shacks were originally holiday homes located on crown land such as along river banks (especially the Murray River) or near beaches. They were roughly built as they were likely to get washed away in floods, and had no legal title on the land they were built on. Now, a lot of the shack owners have freehold title to their land, and are subject to building codes to reduce the risk of damage or injury from floods and storms. Many are now quite grand holiday homes and summer houses. The New Zealand equivalent is called a "bach".

In South Africa, shacks (also referred to as mikhukhu or imijondolo [] ) are an increasingly common form of accommodation for millions of people and are mostly found in or around urban areas, particularly on the outskirts of larger cities. In recent years shack dwellers have organised major protests around the country. The largest movement of shack dwellers is called Abahlali baseMjondolo (loosely translated: "The Residents from the Shacks").

Other meanings of the word

*In amateur radio jargon, a shack refers to the place where an amateur radio operator's radio sending and receiving apparatus is located and operated. The term originally meant that part of a ship where the radio apparatus was located and operated. This is the inspiration for the name 'RadioShack'.
*In military aviation jargon, a "shack" refers to a successful, direct hit on a ground target.
*Bus stops are often referred to as "shacks" by commuters and the common passerby because some bus stops have roofs on top of the stops for shade and protection from the rain.



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  • Shack — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Eddie Shack (* 1937), kanadischer Eishockeyspieler Peter Shack (* 1953), australischer Politiker Shack steht für: Shack (dt. Hütte, Baracke), im Amateurfunkjargon die Bezeichnung für den Ort der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • shack — (n.) 1878, American English and Canadian English, of unknown origin, perhaps from Mex.Sp. jacal, from Nahuatl xacalli wooden hut. Or perhaps a back formation from dialectal English shackly shaky, rickety (1843), a derivative of shack, a dialectal …   Etymology dictionary

  • Shack — Shack, n. [Cf. {Shack}, v. i.] a small simple dwelling, usually having only one room and of flimsy construction; a hut; a shanty; a cabin. [Colloq.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Shack — Shack, n. [Cf. Scot. shag refuse of barley or oats.] 1. The grain left after harvest or gleaning; also, nuts which have fallen to the ground. [Prov. Eng.] [1913 Webster] 2. Liberty of winter pasturage. [Prov. Eng.] [1913 Webster] 3. A shiftless… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Shack up — v. i. 1. to live together in a sexual relationship, without being legally married. [Slang, U. S.] [PJC] 2. to live in a cabin, shack, or other crude dwelling. [Slang, U. S.] [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Shack — Shack, v. t. [Prov. E., to shake, to shed. See {Shake}.] 1. To shed or fall, as corn or grain at harvest. [Prov. Eng.] Grose. [1913 Webster] 2. To feed in stubble, or upon waste corn. [Prov. Eng.] [1913 Webster] 3. To wander as a vagabond or a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shack — ► NOUN ▪ a roughly built hut or cabin. ► VERB (shack up) informal ▪ live with someone as a lover. ORIGIN perhaps from the Mexican or Nahuatl words for wooden hut …   English terms dictionary

  • shack — ☆ shack [shak ] n. [< ? AmSp jacal < Nahuatl xacalli, wooden hut] a small house or cabin that is crudely built and furnished; shanty shack up 1. Slang to live or room ( in a certain place) 2. to live (with one s mistress or paramour) …   English World dictionary

  • shack up — (with (someone)) to live with and have a sexual relationship with someone you are not married to. I was surprised to hear you re shacking up with Kathy. Related vocabulary: set up housekeeping …   New idioms dictionary

  • shack — [n] shanty cabin, camp, cottage, hut, lean to, shed, shelter, small house, tiny house; concept 516 …   New thesaurus

  • shack|le — «SHAK uhl», noun, verb, led, ling. –n. 1. a metal band fastened around the ankle or wrist of a prisoner or slave. Shackles are usually fastened to each other, the wall, or the floor by chains. 2. the link fastening together the two rings for the… …   Useful english dictionary

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