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

New business parks on the city’s fringes are speeding its transition from mining (only two of the once dozens of shafts are still open) to services. The Economist, "How the capital of Poland’s coal belt is reinventing itself," 5 Sep. 2019 Crews attempted to take apart pieces of the elevator while the man was trapped against the wall of the elevator shaft between the first floor and basement, according to NBC New York. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Man killed in elevator accident at Manhattan high-rise," 23 Aug. 2019 But that also means the elevator shaft will be hot, Barry says. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "The up-and-down life of an Alabama elevator inspector," 10 Aug. 2019 Once gold pickings became slim, miners were forced to dig deeper and deeper and open new mining shafts, resurrecting the ghostly tales of the mountain’s supernatural force. Advertorial, Orange County Register, "History & Heritage: Tipping Our Hat to the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness," 15 Sep. 2019 Just get Zion some clubs with reinforced shafts and watch him start bombing 400-yard drives. Dan Gartland, SI.com, "Zion Williamson Swung the Head Right Off a Golf Club," 13 Sep. 2019 Three of the four crew members who had been trapped were found in the propeller shaft Monday. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "4 crew members were trapped on a capsized cargo ship for more than 36 hours. Here's how they were rescued," 10 Sep. 2019 The shaft was designed with a 26-foot diameter, extending 2,275 feet underground. USA TODAY, "Cat burglar, prison bats, USS Arizona Memorial: News from around our 50 states," 4 Sep. 2019 Samuel Charles Waisbren, 30, had been stepping out of the elevator at the first floor of the Manhattan Promenade around 8:30 a.m. when the car plunged and he was pinned against the shaft wall, said Detective Sophia Mason, a police spokesman. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Man crushed to death by elevator at New York high-rise," 23 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Only a socialist could do that to his brother, only a socialist could regard familial ties as being so trivial as to shaft his own brother. Julia Webster, Time, "U.K. Prime Minister's Brother Resigns From Government: 'Torn Between Family Loyalty and the National Interest'," 5 Sep. 2019 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

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

18 Oct 2019

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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

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