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off-the-shelf

[awf-th uh-shelf, of-] /ˈɔf ðəˈʃɛlf, ˈɒf-/
adjective
1.
readily available from merchandise in stock.
2.
made according to a standardized format; not developed for specialized or individual needs; ready-made:
off-the-shelf computer programs.
Origin
1945-1950
1945-50

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; 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 the shelf

off the shelf

adverb
1.
from stock and readily available: you can have this model off the shelf
adjective (off-the-shelf when prenominal)
2.
of or relating to a product that is readily available: an off-the-shelf model
3.
of or denoting a company that has been registered with the Registrar of Companies for the sole purpose of being sold

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 the shelf

shelf

n.

late 14c., from Middle Low German schelf "shelf, set of shelves," or from Old English cognate scylfe, which perhaps meant "shelf, ledge, floor," and scylf "peak, pinnacle," from Proto-Germanic *skelf- "split," possibly from the notion of a split piece of wood (cf. Old Norse skjölf "bench"), from PIE root *(s)kel- (1) "to cut, cleave" (see scale (n.1)).

Shelf life first recorded 1927. Phrase on the shelf "out of the way, inactive" is attested from 1570s; of unmarried women with no prospects from 1839. Off the shelf "ready-made" is from 1936. Meaning "ledge of rock" is from 1809, perhaps from or influenced by shelf (n.2). Related: Shelves.

"sandbank," 1540s, of unknown origin. Related: Shelfy "abounding in sandbanks."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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off the 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 the shelf

off-the-shelf

modifier

Readily available from retail sources; not customized: a drastically scaled-down program that involves purchasing off-the-shelf computer software (1936+)


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 the shelf

off the shelf

Ready-made, available from merchandise or in stock, as opposed to a special order. For example, Sometimes you can get a better discount by buying an appliance off the shelf. [ First half of 1900s ]
Also see: on the shelf
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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