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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for shaft

Synonyms: Noun

beam, ray

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Thirty-six of the workers were found in the elevator shaft. Marlena Scott, Teen Vogue, "Many Women Who Died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 Were Young Immigrants," 25 Mar. 2019 Masons may pour a concrete wheelchair ramp at a house one day, do a brick face on a shopping center the next, and then move on to build a concrete-block elevator shaft for a condominium complex. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become a Skilled Tradesperson," 13 Mar. 2019 That Swing Arm Is a Work of Art The Ryker uses a shaft drive to get the power from the engine to the rear wheel, and without a belt drive or chain, the single-sided aluminum swing arm looks clean and beautiful. Ben Stewart, Popular Mechanics, "8 Cool Things About the Can-Am Ryker," 13 Nov. 2018 Waters said paramedics cut off part of the shaft to facilitate transportation to a hospital. Martin Weil, The Seattle Times, "Pennsylvania woman stable after being impaled by umbrella on Maryland beach," 23 July 2018 The plane is powered by two Rolls-Royce Liberty engines, each of which delivers 6,150 shaft horsepower/4,568 kilowatts. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "V-22 Osprey: The Story of the Revolutionary Tiltrotor Aircraft," 8 Feb. 2019 Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said 20 Hamas targets were struck, including offensive tunnels, weapon workshops and naval shafts. Aron Heller, The Seattle Times, "Gaza rocket hits home in Israel, military strikes back," 17 Oct. 2018 The standout features of these shovels are the telescoping shaft and the low-profile blade, which provides outstanding strength-to-weight ratio. Timothy Dahl, Popular Mechanics, "Here's the Only Shovel You'll Ever Need," 1 Feb. 2019 Even her shoes got in on the action, though, boasting a shaft made of the same material. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Emily Ratajkowski Wore a Fur Bikini for a “One Million Years B.C” Halloween Costume," 1 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shaft

Statistics for shaft

Last Updated

5 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shaft

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up shaft? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!