noun \ˈshel\

: the hard outer covering of an animal, insect, etc., that protects it

: the hard outer covering of an egg

: the hard outer covering of a nut, fruit, or seed

Full Definition of SHELL

a :  a hard rigid usually largely calcareous covering or support of an animal
b :  the hard or tough often thin outer covering of an egg (as of a bird or reptile) — see egg illustration
:  the covering or outside part of a fruit or seed especially when hard or fibrous
:  shell material (as of mollusks or turtles) or their substance
:  something that resembles a shell: as
a :  a framework or exterior structure; especially :  a building with an unfinished interior
b (1) :  an external case or outside covering <the shell of a ship>
(2) :  a thin usually spherical layer or surface enclosing a space or surrounding an object <an expanding shell of gas around a neutron star>
c :  a casing without substance <mere effigies and shells of men — Thomas Carlyle>
d :  an edible crust for holding a filling <a pastry shell> <a taco salad in a tortilla shell>
e :  band shell
f :  a small beer glass
g :  an unlined article of outerwear
:  a shell-bearing mollusk
:  an impersonal attitude or manner that conceals the presence or absence of feeling <he retreated into his shell>
:  a narrow light racing boat propelled by one or more persons pulling oars or sculls
:  any of the regions occupied by the orbits of a group of electrons of approximately equal energy surrounding the nucleus of an atom
a :  a projectile for cannon containing an explosive bursting charge
b :  a metal or paper case which holds the charge of powder and shot or bullet used with breech-loading small arms
:  a plain usually sleeveless blouse or sweater
:  a company or corporation that exists without assets or independent operations as a legal entity through which another company or corporation can conduct various dealings
shell adjective

Examples of SHELL

  1. the shell of a crab
  2. We collected shells at the beach.
  3. We're going to have stuffed shells for dinner.

Origin of SHELL

Middle English, from Old English sciell; akin to Old English scealu shell, Old Norse skel, Lithuanian skelti to split, Greek skallein to hoe
First Known Use: before 12th century



: to remove the shell or outer covering of (something)

: to shoot shells at (someone or something) using large guns

: to score heavily against (a pitcher) in baseball

Full Definition of SHELL

transitive verb
a :  to take out of a natural enclosing cover (as a shell, husk, pod, or capsule) <shell peanuts>
b :  to separate the kernels of (as an ear of Indian corn, wheat, or oats) from the cob, ear, or husk
:  to throw shells at, upon, or into :  bombard
:  to score heavily against (as an opposing pitcher in baseball)
intransitive verb
:  to fall or scale off in thin pieces
:  to cast the shell or exterior covering :  fall out of the pod or husk <nuts which shell in falling>
:  to gather shells (as from a beach)

Examples of SHELL

  1. They shelled the enemy troops.
  2. The town was shelled during the battle.

First Known Use of SHELL


Related to SHELL

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grossly irreverent
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