[shaf-ting, shahf-]
a number of shafts.
Machinery. a system of shafts, as the overhead shafts formerly used for driving the machinery of a mill.
steel bar stock used for shafts.
Architecture. a system of shafts, as those around a pier or in the reveals of an archway.
Slang. an instance of unique or unfair treatment: The owners gave him a real shafting on the deal.

1815–25; shaft + -ing1 Unabridged


[shaft, shahft]
a long pole forming the body of various weapons, as lances, halberds, or arrows.
something directed or barbed as in sharp attack: shafts of sarcasm.
a ray or beam: a shaft of sunlight.
a long, comparatively straight handle serving as an important or balancing part of an implement or device, as of a hammer, ax, golf club, or other implement.
Machinery. a rotating or oscillating round, straight bar for transmitting motion and torque, usually supported on bearings and carrying gears, wheels, or the like, as a propeller shaft on a ship, or a drive shaft of an engine.
a flagpole.
that part of a column or pier between the base and capital. See diag. under column.
any distinct, slender, vertical masonry feature engaged in a wall or pier and usually supporting or feigning to support an arch or vault.
a monument in the form of a column, obelisk, or the like.
either of the parallel bars of wood between which the animal drawing a vehicle is hitched.
any well-like passage or vertical enclosed space, as in a building: an elevator shaft.
Mining. a vertical or sloping passageway leading to the surface.
Botany. the trunk of a tree.
Zoology. the main stem or midrib of a feather.
Also called leaf. Textiles. the harness or warp with reference to the pattern of interlacing threads in weave constructions (usually used in combination): an eight-shaft satin.
the part of a candelabrum that supports the branches.
verb (used with object)
to push or propel with a pole: to shaft a boat through a tunnel.
Informal. to treat in a harsh, unfair, or treacherous manner.

before 1000; Middle English; Old English sceaft; cognate with German Schaft; compare Latin scāpus shaft, Greek skêptron scepter

shaftless, adjective
shaftlike, adjective
subshaft, noun
unshafted, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shaft (ʃɑːft)
1.  the long narrow pole that forms the body of a spear, arrow, etc
2.  something directed at a person in the manner of a missile: shafts of sarcasm
3.  a ray, beam, or streak, esp of light
4.  a rod or pole forming the handle of a hammer, axe, golf club, etc
5.  Compare rod a revolving rod that transmits motion or power: usually used of axial rotation
6.  one of the two wooden poles by which an animal is harnessed to a vehicle
7.  anatomy
 a.  the middle part (diaphysis) of a long bone
 b.  the main portion of any elongated structure or part
8.  the middle part of a column or pier, between the base and the capital
9.  a column, obelisk, etc, esp one that forms a monument
10.  architect a column that supports a vaulting rib, sometimes one of a set
11.  a vertical passageway through a building, as for a lift
12.  a vertical passageway into a mine
13.  ornithol the central rib of a feather
14.  an archaic or literary word for arrow
15.  slang (US), (Canadian) get the shaft to be tricked or cheated
16.  slang to have sexual intercourse with (a woman)
17.  slang to trick or cheat
[Old English sceaft; related to Old Norse skapt, German Schaft, Latin scāpus shaft, Greek skeptronsceptre, Lettish skeps javelin]

shafting (ˈʃɑːftɪŋ)
1.  an assembly of rotating shafts for transmitting power
2.  the stock from which shafts are made
3.  architect a set of shafts

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. sceaft "long, slender rod of a staff or spear," from P.Gmc. *skaftaz (cf. O.N. skapt, O.S. skaft, O.H.G. scaft, Ger. schaft, Du. schacht, not found in Gothic), which some connect with a Gmc. passive pp. of PIE base *(s)kep- "to cut, to scrape" (cf. O.E. scafan "to shave") on notion of "tree branch
stripped of its bark." But cf. L. scapus "shaft, stem, shank," which appears to be a cognate. Meaning "beam or ray" (of light, etc.) is attested from c.1300. Vulgar slang meaning "penis" first recorded 1719. Verb meaning "treat cruelly and unfairly" is 1950s, with overtones of sodomy.

"long, narrow passage sunk into the earth," 1433, probably from shaft (1) on notion of "long and cylindrical," perhaps as a translation of cognate Low Ger. schacht in this sense (Grimm's suggestion, though OED is against it). Or it may represent a separate (unrecorded) development
in O.E. directly from P.Gmc. *skaftaz in the original sense of "scrape, dig." The double sense of shaft is attested in country music song title, "She Got the Gold Mine, I Got the Shaft."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

shaft (shāft)

  1. An elongated rodlike structure, such as the midsection of a long bone.

  2. The section of a hair projecting from the surface of the body.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Shafting, hubs and bearings for the tail pulley shall be as indicated for the head pulley.
The chains are driven by conventional shafting and sprockets connected to an electrical driven gearbox.
On machines driven by belts and shafting, a locking-type shifter or an equivalent positive device shall be used.
He invented and patented many innovative systems, including pulley-free shafting.
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