from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The game of jackstraws.
  • n. One of the straws used in playing jackstraws.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One of the straws used in the game of jackstraws (spillikins)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. See spilikin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A long splinter of wood, bone, ivory, or the like, such as is used in playing some games, as jackstraws.
  • n. pl, A game played with such pegs, pins, or splinters, as push-pin or jackstraws.
  • n. A small peg used in keeping count in some games, as cribbage.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a thin strip of wood used in playing the game of jackstraws


Probably alteration of Flemish spelleken, diminutive of spelle, pin, from Middle Flemish, ultimately from Medieval Latin spīnula, diminutive of Latin spīna, thorn.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • It's so very difficult to play a game with a spillikin on one side and a sledge-hammer on the other. '

    The Explorer


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