\ ˈshāl How to pronounce shale (audio) \

Definition of shale

: a fissile rock that is formed by the consolidation of clay, mud, or silt, has a finely stratified or laminated structure, and is composed of minerals essentially unaltered since deposition

Other Words from shale

shaley or less commonly shaly \ ˈshā-​lē How to pronounce shale (audio) \ adjective

Examples of shale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Soaring energy prices are set to reward almost everyone producing hydrocarbons: Major oil companies and U.S. shale producers reported record free cash flows in 2021 and should do even better this year. Jinjoo Lee, WSJ, 18 Mar. 2022 Despite President Obama’s best efforts to curtail the shale boom, the oil industry went on an investment binge during his administration, racking up huge amounts of debt to expand capacity. Mario Loyola, National Review, 17 Mar. 2022 Last week, Bloomberg reported that ExxonMobil is planning to expand its bitcoin-mining pilot in the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota, opening up new bitcoin projects in Alaska, Nigeria, Guyana, Argentina, and Germany. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 30 Mar. 2022 In the short run, ESG investors will look in horror on governments cozying up to shale and coal. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 29 Mar. 2022 But as soon as that shale played out, Everything disappeared. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 21 Mar. 2022 Suncor’s cash operating costs for its oil sands operations were roughly $20 a barrel last year; for U.S. shale producer EOG, that cost was closer to $10 a barrel. Jinjoo Lee, WSJ, 18 Mar. 2022 Eventually what remains is the impermeable underbelly, such as shale or granite. Erica Gies, Scientific American, 16 Mar. 2022 Thus, American shale has allowed our imports from the cartel OPEC to plummet, while the importance of Canadian oil in the U.S. refinery system is growing. Jude Clemente, Forbes, 13 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of shale

1747, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shale

probably from obsolete or dialect shale scale, shell, from Middle English, from Old English scealu — more at shell

Learn More About shale

Dictionary Entries Near shale



shale clay

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for shale

Last Updated

7 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for shale


\ ˈshāl How to pronounce shale (audio) \

Kids Definition of shale

: a rock with a fine grain formed from clay, mud, or silt

More from Merriam-Webster on shale

Nglish: Translation of shale for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shale for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about shale


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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