follow Dictionary.com

How Well Do You Know English Slang?

shelves

[shelvz] /ʃɛlvz/
noun
1.
plural of shelf.

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

shelve1

[shelv] /ʃɛlv/
verb (used with object), shelved, shelving.
1.
to place (something) on a shelf or shelves.
2.
to put off or aside from consideration:
to shelve the question.
3.
to remove from active use or service; dismiss.
4.
to furnish with shelves.
Origin
1585-95; v. use of shelve(s)
Related forms
shelver, noun
Synonyms
2. defer, table, pigeonhole.

shelve2

[shelv] /ʃɛlv/
verb (used without object), shelved, shelving.
1.
to slope gradually.
Origin
1580-90; origin uncertain; compare Frisian skelf not quite level
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for shelves
  • In this safe were three shelves and two small drawers.
  • Ranged on the shelves were several small bottles of crystal, hermetically stopped.
  • Rough board shelves hold a number of books, without which some of the evenings would be long indeed.
  • You'll see a small sink, shelves once used to display food and drinks for sale, and scant remains of wall paintings.
  • As any series of toys increases in popularity and becomes scarcer on store shelves, it's inevitable that their value increases.
  • It's stuff researchers can look up in an online catalog but don't need to browse on open shelves.
  • That's a problem for any librarian tasked with finding room on overcrowded shelves.
  • Guides to happiness, many of them written by scholars, fill bookstore shelves.
  • But in truth, the books on our library shelves are little more than furniture.
  • It's the rare few who might find a copy on their parents' shelves.
British Dictionary definitions for shelves

shelves

/ʃɛlvz/
noun
1.
the plural of 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

shelve1

/ʃɛlv/
verb (transitive)
1.
to place on a shelf
2.
to provide with shelves
3.
to put aside or postpone from consideration
4.
to dismiss or cause to retire
Derived Forms
shelver, noun
Word Origin
C16: from shelves, plural of shelf

shelve2

/ʃɛlv/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to slope away gradually; incline
Word Origin
C16: origin uncertain
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for shelves

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."

shelve

v.

1590s, "to overhang," also "to provide with shelves," probably a back-formation from shelves, plural of shelf (n.1). Meaning "put on a shelf" first recorded 1650s; metaphoric sense of "lay aside, dismiss" is from 1812. Related: Shelved; shelving.

"to slope gradually," 1610s, from Middle English shelven "to slope," from shelfe "grassy slope," a word related to shelf (n.1). Related: Shelved; shelving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
shelves in Science
shelf
  (shělf)   
See continental shelf.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for shelves

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.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with shelves
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for shelves

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for shelves

13
14
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with shelves