noun \ˈshelf\

: a flat board which is attached to a wall, frame, etc., and on which objects can be placed

geology : a flat area of rock, sand, etc., especially underwater

plural shelves \ˈshelvz\

Full Definition of SHELF

a :  a thin flat usually long and narrow piece of material (as wood) fastened horizontally (as on a wall) at a distance from the floor to hold objects
b :  one of several similar pieces in a closet, bookcase, or similar structure
c :  the contents of a shelf <the author of a shelf of best sellers>
:  something resembling a shelf in form or position: as
a :  a sandbank or ledge of rocks usually partially submerged
b :  a flat projecting layer of rock
c :  the submerged gradually sloping border of a continent or island :  continental shelf
shelf·ful \ˈshelf-ˌfl\ noun
shelf·like \ˈshelf-ˌlīk\ adjective
off the shelf
:  available from stock :  not made to order <off the shelf equipment>
on the shelf
:  in a state of inactivity or uselessness

Examples of SHELF

  1. Put the vase on the shelf.
  2. the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet
  3. Will you get that book down off the shelf?
  4. We don't have much shelf space.

Origin of SHELF

Middle English, probably from Old English scylfe; akin to Old Norse hlīthskjalf Odin's seat
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Furniture and Woodworking Terms

appoint, credenza, mission, settee

Rhymes with SHELF

SHELFFUL Defined for Kids


noun \ˈshelf\
plural shelves \ˈshelvz\

Definition of SHELF for Kids

:  a flat piece (as of wood or metal) set above a floor (as on a wall or in a bookcase) to hold things
:  a flat area (as of rock)


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