Shanghai - (verb) - To induce or compel (someone) to do something, especially by fraud or force
Usage: We were shanghaied into buying worthless securities.
Was reading a list of words derived from toponyms and there are tons of them: Bikini, Denim, Limerick, Blarney........when the word struck from a distant memory. I remember writing to a friend, many moons ago, how I, a sworn vegetarian at that time, was shanghaied into eating chicken by my hostel-mates. Blogging was not a given thing in those days and I don't think I gave the word any thought betwixt that day and today.
Coming to the origin of the word, the word is (it can't be more obvious) named after China's largest city and one of the most important ports in the world. The story goes that in the the 19th century, it was difficult for shippers in the West Coast of United States to find sufficient crews to man the ships set for long voyages, especially the ones to China. Shippers would get men to drug others from the dock area and put them into ships in the harbor. At first when men were found missing, the word would go round that "he's sailing to Shanghai." Later, the phrase was reduced to the verb as it is known today.
Trivia: The West Coast state of Oregon has underground tunnels called Shanghai Tunnels that run underneath Chinatown to the downtown section of Portland, Oregon. The tunnels were built to move goods. Around the end of the 19th century they were used to kidnap or "shanghai" unsuspecting laborers and sell them as slaves to waiting ships at the waterfront. Hence the name for the tunnels.
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