"to remove the shucks from," 1819, from or related to shuck (n.). Related: Shucked; shucking.
Many extended senses are from the notion of "stripping" an ear of corn, or from the capers associated with husking frolics; such as "to strip (off) one's clothes" (1848) and "to deceive, swindle, cheat, fool" (1959); phrase shucking and jiving "fooling, deceiving" is suggested from 1966, in African-American vernacular, but compare shuck (v.) a slang term among "cool musicians" for "to improvise chords, especially to a piece of music one does not know" (1957), and shuck (n.) "a theft or fraud," in use by 1950s in African-American vernacular.
[B]lack senses probably fr[om] the fact that black slaves sang and shouted gleefully during corn-shucking season, and this behavior, along with lying and teasing, became a part of the protective and evasive behavior normally adopted towards white people in "traditional" race relations; the sense of "swindle" is perhaps related to the mid-1800s term to be shucked out, "be defeated, be denied victory," which suggests that the notion of stripping someone as an ear of corn is stripped may be basic in the semantics. ["Dictionary of American Slang"]
"husk, pod, shell," 1670s, of unknown origin. Compare shuck (v.). Later used in reference to the shells of oysters and clams (1872). Figurative as a type of something worthless from 1836.
updated on September 25, 2018