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shelf

[shelf] /ʃɛlf/
noun, plural shelves
[shelvz] /ʃɛlvz/ (Show IPA)
1.
a thin slab of wood, metal, etc., fixed horizontally to a wall or in a frame, for supporting objects.
2.
the contents of this:
a shelf of books.
3.
a surface or projection resembling this; ledge.
4.
Physical Geography.
  1. a sandbank or submerged extent of rock in the sea or river.
  2. the bedrock underlying an alluvial deposit or the like.
  3. continental shelf.
5.
Archery. the upper part of the bow hand, on which the arrow rests.
Idioms
6.
off the shelf, readily available from merchandise in stock:
Any of those parts can be purchased off the shelf.
7.
on the shelf, Informal.
  1. put aside temporarily; postponed.
  2. inactive; useless.
  3. without prospects of marriage, as after having broken an engagement.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English; Old English scylfe; akin to Low German schelf shelf, Old Norse -skjalf bench
Related forms
shelflike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for off shelf

shelf

/ʃɛlf/
noun (pl) shelves (ʃɛlvz)
1.
a thin flat plank of wood, metal, etc, fixed horizontally against a wall, etc, for the purpose of supporting objects
2.
something resembling this in shape or function
3.
the objects placed on a shelf, regarded collectively a shelf of books
4.
a projecting layer of ice, rock, etc, on land or in the sea See also continental shelf
5.
(mining) a layer of bedrock hit when sinking a shaft
6.
(archery) the part of the hand on which an arrow rests when the bow is grasped
7.
8.
on the shelf, put aside or abandoned: used esp of unmarried women considered to be past the age of marriage
verb
9.
(transitive) (Austral, slang) to inform upon
Derived Forms
shelflike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English scylfe ship's deck; related to Middle Low German schelf shelf, Old English scylf crag
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for off shelf
shelf
late 14c., from M.L.G. schelf "shelf, set of shelves," or from O.E. cognate scylfe "shelf, ledge, floor," and scylf "peak, pinnacle," from P.Gmc. *skelf-, *skalf- "split," possibly from the notion of a split piece of wood (cf. O.N. skjölf "bench"), from PIE base *(s)kel- "to cut, cleave" (cf. L. sculpere "to carve"). Shelf life first recorded 1927. Phrase on the shelf "out of the way, inactive" is attested from 1575. Continental shelf first attested 1892.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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off shelf in Science
shelf
  (shělf)   
See continental shelf.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for off shelf

shelf

Related Terms

on the shelf


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with off shelf
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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