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

Two prospectors came upon it in a mine shaft near Elsinore, California. Richard Ruelas, AZCentral.com, "Lost to Time From the Don Bolles files: Murder and the drug ring's pot plane," 9 July 2019 Borgonie has found teeming communities of nematodes two miles below Earth's surface, in South African mine shafts with scant oxygen and scalding heat. Daniel Ackerman, Anchorage Daily News, "Ancient life awakens amid thawing ice caps and permafrost," 8 July 2019 The body of Arian Palanas Lozano, 28, also from the Philippines, was found down the same shaft six days later. Fox News, "Decomposing body of Cyprus serial killer's youngest victim discovered in lake," 14 June 2019 Bounds’ smog-alert chamber is reached by a spiral staircase winding 20 feet into the ground in a well-like shaft. Scott Harrison, latimes.com, "From the Archives: Underground smog shelter," 12 June 2019 Authorities are trying to rescue a worker who fell down an elevator shaft following a methane gas explosion Wednesday afternoon at a coal mine in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky coal mine explosion knocks worker down 380-foot shaft," 2 Aug. 2019 Also, Hutchison and Mack also want to build a six-car garage west of the building for the condo residents, and add an exterior elevator shaft. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Conversion of Historic former Schlitz tavern in Riverwest neighborhood to condos wins initial city OK," 9 July 2019 But auxiliary features like stairwells and elevator shafts will not count toward the parking requirements. Hillary Davis, latimes.com, "Costa Mesa backs off recently tightened parking requirements for some commercial developments," 7 June 2019 The rooftop currently houses mechanical equipment and a light shaft, the company said. Madison Iszler, ExpressNews.com, "Aztec Theatre to feature rooftop bar, event space," 15 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Part of the problem, experts say, is that health care fraud is often misunderstood as shafting greedy insurers — not the folks paying for health insurance. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "Health Insurers Make It Easy for Scammers to Steal Millions. Who Pays? You.," 19 July 2019 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 Part of the problem, experts say, is that health care fraud is often misunderstood as shafting greedy insurers — not the folks paying for health insurance. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "Health Insurers Make It Easy for Scammers to Steal Millions. Who Pays? You.," 19 July 2019 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

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

6 Sep 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

authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!