An offensive name for a Jew, in slang use since the nineteenth century. It has other slang meanings, such as ‘pawnbroker’, ‘tramp’, and ‘a mean person’. The origin of the word is obscure, but it is highly unlikely, as Eric Partridge suggests in his Dictionary of Historical Slang, that it has anything to do with the sheen of a Jew’s hair.
   The word is used in the USA rather than Britain in modern times. Portnoy’s Complaint, by Philip Roth, has a young girl calling a Jewish boy ‘sheeny’, ‘kike’, ‘hebe’, and ‘cheap bastard fairy Jew’ in the space of a moment or two, all of these being expressions of contempt.
   In Garson Kanin’s Moviola it is supposedly Mack Sennett who addresses a colleague as ‘you dumb sheeny’, but this is interpreted by the man concerned as a friendly term. Soon afterwards ‘you fatheaded kike’ is used in a similar way.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • Sheeny — Sheen y, a. Bright; shining; radiant; sheen. A sheeny summer morn. Tennyson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sheeny — or sheenie [shē′nē] n. pl. sheenies [also S ] Slang a Jewish person: a somewhat old fashioned term of disparagement or contempt …   English World dictionary

  • sheeny — 1. noun /ˈʃiːni/ A Jew. Shylock chimes with the jewbaiting that followed the hanging and quartering of the queen’s leech Lopez, his jew’s heart being plucked forth while the sheeny was yet alive 2. adjective /ˈʃiːni/ having a sheen; glossy …   Wiktionary

  • sheeny — n a Jew. The term appeared in Britain in the early 19th century when it did not necessarily have the offensive racist overtones it acquired in the 20th cen tury. Many possible etymologies have been proposed for sheeny: the three most plausible… …   Contemporary slang

  • sheeny — sheen ► NOUN ▪ a soft lustre on a surface. DERIVATIVES sheeny adjective. ORIGIN from obsolete sheen «beautiful, resplendent»; apparently related to SHINE(Cf. ↑shine) …   English terms dictionary

  • sheeny — adjective see sheen III …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • sheeny — sheeny1 /shee nee/, adj., sheenier, sheeniest. shining; lustrous. [1615 25; SHEEN + Y1] sheeny2 /shee nee/, n., pl. sheenies. Slang (disparaging and offensive). a Jew. Also, sheeney, sheenie. [1810 20; orig. obscure] * * …   Universalium

  • sheeny — sheen·y || ʃɪːnɪ adj. shiny, brilliant, glossy, lustrous …   English contemporary dictionary

  • sheeny — sheeny1 adjective (sheenier, sheeniest) having a sheen; lustrous. sheeny2 noun (plural sheenies) N. Amer. informal, offensive a Jewish person. Origin C19: origin unknown …   English new terms dictionary

  • sheeny — I. /ˈʃini/ (say sheenee) adjective shining; lustrous. {sheen + y1} II. /ˈʃini/ (say sheenee) noun British Colloquial (derogatory) (racist) a Jewish person. {19th century; ? of Slavic origin} …  

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