shaft

noun
\ ˈshaft How to pronounce shaft (audio) \
plural shafts\ ˈshaf(t)s How to pronounce shafts (audio) , for sense 1b usually  ˈshavz \

Definition of shaft

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : the long handle of a spear or similar weapon
(2) : spear, lance
b or plural shaves\ ˈshavz How to pronounce shaves (audio)\ : pole specifically : either of two long pieces of wood between which a horse is hitched to a vehicle
c(1) : an arrow especially for a longbow
(2) : the body or stem of an arrow extending from the nock to the head
2 : a sharply delineated beam of light shining through an opening
3 : something suggestive of the shaft of a spear or arrow especially in long slender cylindrical form: such as
a : the trunk of a tree
b : the cylindrical pillar between the capital and the base
c : the handle of a tool or instrument (such as a golf club)
d : a commonly cylindrical bar used to support rotating pieces or to transmit power or motion by rotation
e : the stem or central axis of a feather
f : the upright member of a cross especially below the arms
g : the cylindrical part of a long bone between the enlarged ends
h : a small architectural column (as at each side of a doorway)
i : a column, obelisk, or other spire-shaped or columnar monument
j : a vertical or inclined opening of uniform and limited cross section made for finding or mining ore, raising water, or ventilating underground workings (as in a cave)
k : the part of a hair that is visible above the surface of the skin — see hair illustration
l : a vertical opening or passage through the floors of a building
4a : a projectile thrown like a spear or shot like an arrow
b : a scornful, satirical, or pithily critical remark or attack
c : harsh or unfair treatment usually used with the gave them the shaft

shaft

verb
shafted; shafting; shafts

Definition of shaft (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to fit with a shaft
2 : to treat unfairly or harshly

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Synonyms for shaft

Synonyms: Noun

beam, ray

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Examples of shaft in a Sentence

Noun

the shaft of a spear the shaft of a golf club

Verb

You really got shafted in that deal.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Keep cool on a 25-minute tour of mine shaft as the guide talks about the good ol' days before the gold played out. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Summer in Arizona: Locals share 100 fun ways to survive the 100-degree heat in Phoenix," 1 July 2019 Beckwitt opened the first hole in the basement of the Bethesda, Maryland, house left to him along with a sizable inheritance by his parents, smashing through the concrete floor in 2014 to bore an entry and the beginning of a shaft. Dan Morse, chicagotribune.com, "A millionaire day trader, the secret bunker under his Maryland home and a murder conviction," 1 July 2019 Beckwitt opened the first hole in the basement of the Bethesda house left to him along with a sizable inheritance by his parents, smashing through the concrete floor in 2014 to bore an entry and the beginning of a shaft. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "A millionaire day trader, the secret bunker under his home and a murder conviction," 1 July 2019 On a recent afternoon at Empire Mine State Historic Park, where 367 miles of underground shafts once unearthed California’s gold, state firefighters used saws and axes to thin oak and pine. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "Fearful of being the next Paradise, Grass Valley confronts its fire vulnerability," 30 June 2019 The steel basket lowered by the crane was waiting at the bottom of the shaft. Scott Harrison, latimes.com, "From the Archives: Blast in Sylmar water tunnel kills 17," 24 June 2019 Initially, Sadick examines the structure of the hair shaft through a trichogram ($200 and up; may be covered by insurance). Jessica Chia, Allure, "The Best Hair Loss Treatments for Every Budget," 15 Oct. 2018 Chote, of the Mae Sai police, said a helicopter was sent Monday afternoon to survey at least one of those shafts. Tassanee Vejpongsa, BostonGlobe.com, "12 boys, coach missing in flooded Thailand cave," 25 June 2018 She had been struck with a steel golf club with enough force to break the club, and a piece of the shaft was used to stab her through the neck. Rick Rojas And Kristin Hussey, New York Times, "Four Decades After Martha Moxley’s Murder, Her Mother Says ‘It’s Enough’," 5 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

How can the Bulldogs get to the second weekend, fans ask, if they are shafted in their seed line? David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: How they play, more than how they're seeded, matters to Bulldogs," 10 Mar. 2018 But unity remains elusive for the party whose ugly presidential primary in 2016 led to Hillary Clinton mortally damaged on Election Day after Bernie Sanders supporters left her high and dry, embittered that the party had shafted their man. Maria Panaritis, Philly.com, "For Pa. Democrats, family feud threatens gerrymandering joy | Maria Panaritis," 14 Feb. 2018 But some of the same forces that contributed to Trump’s victory here feed the skepticism over the tax bill — a sense that working people are getting shafted, a jaded view of Washington, and deep skepticism toward Congress. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "GOP tax cuts generate little excitement in blue-collar county that swung hard for Trump," 18 Dec. 2017 The government was forced to redraft certain settlements with owners after shafting them by not accounting for valuable nearby water rights. James Warren, The Hive, "The Massive, Botched Land Grab Behind Trump’s Border Wall," 14 Dec. 2017 For one, Wonder Woman was completely shafted, as was the sublimely hilarious Girls Trip. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "14 Golden Globes 2018 Snubs We Just Can't Get Over," 11 Dec. 2017 New characters Billy and Max got shafted in comparison to Bob and Dr. Owens. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "The end of Stranger Things S2 slays whatever early-season nitpicks existed," 12 Nov. 2017 Almost all the pillars of President Trump's presidency — immigration, jobs, mistrust of allies, coloring Washington as a feckless, greedy swamp — can be traced back to one of his core beliefs: America is getting shafted by the rest of the world. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "How Trump’s ‘America first’ doctrine drives everything he does — including getting elected," 19 Sep. 2017 Government watchdogs trying to gain access to visitors logs at Mar-a-Lago were shafted when those logs were finally released, the Associated Press's Jill Colvin reports. Dan Sweeney, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Counting the costs of Hurricane Irma," 18 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shaft.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of shaft

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

Verb

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shaft

Noun

Middle English, from Old English sceaft; akin to Old High German scaft shaft, Latin scapus shaft, stalk, Greek skēptesthai to prop oneself, lean

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Statistics for shaft

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shaft

The first known use of shaft was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for shaft

shaft

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shaft

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the long, narrow part of a weapon, tool, instrument, etc.
: a bar in a machine which holds or turns other parts that move or spin
: one of two poles between which a horse is tied to pull a vehicle (such as a carriage)

shaft

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shaft (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly US, informal : to treat (someone) unfairly or harshly

shaft

noun
\ ˈshaft How to pronounce shaft (audio) \

Kids Definition of shaft

1 : the long handle of a weapon, tool, or instrument the shaft of a spear the shaft of a golf club
2 : one of two poles between which a horse is hitched to pull a wagon or carriage
3 : an arrow or its narrow stem
4 : a narrow beam of light
5 : a long narrow part or structure especially when round the shaft of a feather
6 : a mine opening made for finding or mining ore
7 : an opening or passage straight down through the floors of a building an air shaft an elevator shaft
8 : a bar to support rotating pieces of machinery or to give them motion

shaft

noun
\ ˈshaft How to pronounce shaft (audio) \
plural shafts\ ˈshaf(t)s How to pronounce shafts (audio) \

Medical Definition of shaft

: a long slender cylindrical body or part: as
a : the cylindrical part of a long bone between the enlarged ends

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More from Merriam-Webster on shaft

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shaft

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shaft

Spanish Central: Translation of shaft

Nglish: Translation of shaft for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shaft for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shaft

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