Week of July 10. 2022

Facts That are Shells of Their Former Selves


Seashells are the hard exoskeletons of otherwise soft invertebrate sea creatures.


A “shell game” involves putting an object under something that conceals it, like a cup or shell, then moving that and similar empty cups around, hoping the betting party will lose track of where the object is and thereby lose the game and wager. There is frequently deceit involved, and in the financial sense, this term often refers to asset-hiding schemes.


The idiom “to come out of his/her shell” means to become more outgoing social, and is a reference to a shelled animal like a snail or turtle who remains alone in there for protection.


A shell company, as the name implies, is typically a legally-created business entity, but one that does not do any sustained business operations or own significant assets long term. These are often created for tax purposes, concealing the identity of stakeholders or assets, fundraising or merger purposes, and sometimes illegal business.


“She sells sea shells by the sea shore”is both a classic English tongue twister-turned-song and a training tool for those learning English and practicing the “s” sound.


Hermit crabs are among nature’s great shell recyclers. Vulnerable to predators and the baking sun without them, hermit crabs have elaborate methods of moving into new, size-appropriate shells as they grow, with smaller crabs moving into the old shells sometimes simultaneously.


The shell in “shell shock” is military artillery shells, and the term refers to types of battle fatigue, with physical and mental conditions now more commonly described as PTSD. The term was first coined in World War I to describe the shape of many soldiers returning from battle.