Origin of shill
- Perhaps short for shillaber shill of unknown origin
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- There are some suggestions that it originates in the surname Shilaber or Shillibeer, especially George Shillibeer, but proposed origins are dubious as the word is first attested in North America in the 20th century, while proposed models are 19th century British.
- Speculatively cognate with German Schieber (“black marketeer, profiteer") via *shi-la-ber.