Shag vs Shaw – What’s the difference?

Shag vs Shaw - What's the difference?
As a noun shag is matted material; rough massed hair, fibres etc or shag can be several species of sea birds in the family phalacrocoracidae (cormorant family), especially the , phalacrocorax aristotelis , found on european and african coasts or shag can be a swing dance or shag can be (canada|northwestern ontario) a fundraising dance in honour of a couple engaged to be married.
As a verb shag is to make hairy or shaggy; to roughen or shag can be to shake, wiggle around.
As an adjective shag is (obsolete) hairy; shaggy.

As a proper noun shaw is an english topographic surname for someone who lived by a small wood or copse.



Etymology 1

From (etyl) ), from Old Norse skaga, to protrude.


(en noun )

  • Matted material; rough massed hair, fibres etc.
  • * (John Gay)
  • true Witney broadcloth, with its shag unshorn
  • Coarse shredded tobacco.
  • * 1978 , (Lawrence Durrell), Livia”, Faber & Faber 1992 (”Avignon Quintet ), p. 535:
  • He was rather unshaven as well and smelt strongly of shag .
  • A type of rough carpet pile.
  • Derived terms

    * shaggy
    * shagginess
    * shaggy-dog story
    * shagger



  • To make hairy or shaggy; to roughen.
  • * J. Barlow
  • Shag the green zone that bounds the boreal skies.


    (en adjective )

  • (obsolete) hairy; shaggy
  • (Shakespeare)

    Etymology 2

    (Common Shag)
    Perhaps a derivative of Etymology 1, above, with reference to the bird’s shaggy crest.


    (en noun )

  • Several species of sea birds in the family Phalacrocoracidae (cormorant family), especially the , Phalacrocorax aristotelis , found on European and African coasts.
  • *1941 , (Ernestine Hill), My Love Must Wait , A&R Classics 2013, p. 7:
  • *:He ran back and picked up a dead bird that had fallen. It was not a duck but a shag .
  • Derived terms

    * Auckland shag ()
    * Bounty shag ()
    * Campbell shag ()
    * Chatham shag ()
    * Heard shag ()
    * imperial shag ()
    * Kerguelen shag ()
    * king shag ()
    * Macquarie shag ()
    * Stewart Island shag ()

    Etymology 3

    From (etyl) (m), from (etyl) caused the analogical replacement of the stem-final voiceless geminate consonants with voiced geminates, which was then leveled throughout the paradigm.



  • To shake, wiggle around.
  • To have sexual intercourse with.
  • To masturbate.
  • To chase after; especially, to chase after and return (a ball) hit usually out of play
  • * {{quote-book
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    , passage=Chris is off somewhere in the darkness, but I’m not going to shag after him.

  • To perform the dance called the shag.
  • Noun

    (en noun )

  • A swing dance.
  • (slang) An act of sexual intercourse.
  • * 2007 , Julie Andrews, “Roman Must Die”, in The Leonard Variations: Clarion 2007 San Diego , ISBN 9787774574500, page 10:
  • They were in the midst of an intense snog, his tongue down her throat as he tried to work out if he wanted another shag before she left for the night, when an odd noise sounded from behind the door of 2B.
  • * 2010 , Clara Darling, Hot City Nights , St. Martin’s Press (2010), ISBN 9780312536954, page 107:
  • “And feel free to come over anytime you’d like a drink and a shag .
  • * 2011 , Josephine Myles, Barging In , Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (2011), ISBN 9781609285920, page 24:
  • He could say yes, then just quietly leave the area without ever seeing the man again. He could even get a shag out of Charles first.
  • (slang) A casual sexual partner.
  • * 2003 , Freya North, Pip , Harper (2003), ISBN 9780007462254, unnumbered page:
  • ‘It turned out that it was me who was just a shag to him . He had a girlfriend I didn’t know about. He presumed I was up for some no-strings action. And the thing is, I thought I was – in theory. But in practice, I realized that I wasn’t.’
  • * 2008 , Bruce Cooke, Trace Elements , Eternal Press (2008), ISBN 9781897559369, page 56:
  • “Was I just another shag to you, Trace? Someone to bed when the offer came?”
  • * 2011 , Wes Lee, “Saul”, in The Sleepers Almanac, No. 7 (eds. Zoe Dattner & Louise Swinn), Sleepers Publishing (2011), ISBN 9781742702995, page 135:
  • ‘Your favourite shag ?’ I ask her.
    ‘Martin Kershen.’
    ‘He was a sexy beast.’

    * (casual sexual partner) see also .

    Etymology 4

    Blend of .


    (en noun )

  • (Canada, Northwestern Ontario) A fundraising dance in honour of a couple engaged to be married.
  • Synonyms

    * stag and doe, stag and doe party (qualifier)
    * social, wedding social (qualifier)




    * gash
    * hags



    Alternative forms

    * shawe


    (en noun )

  • (label) A thicket; a small wood or grove.
  • *:
  • *:Thenne said sire kay I requyre you lete vs preue this aduenture / I shal not fayle you said sir Gaherys / and soo they rode that tyme tyl a lake / that was that tyme called the peryllous lake / And there they abode vnder the shawe of the wood
  • *1936 , (Alfred Edward Housman), More Poems , V, lines 1-2
  • The snows are fled away, leaves on the shaws , / And grasses in the mead renew their birth,
  • (label) The leaves and tops of vegetables, especially potatoes and turnips.
  • *1932 , (Lewis Grassic Gibbon), Sunset Song”, Polygon, 2006 (”A Scots Quair ), p.35:
  • *:Up here the hills were brave with the beauty and the heat of it, but the hayfield was still all a crackling dryness and in the potato park beyond the biggings the shaws drooped red and rusty already.
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