\ˈshāl \

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

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Other Words from shale

shaley or less commonly shaly \ˈshā-lē \ adjective

Examples of shale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Two years ago all of the business media and oil analysts were discussing how many jobs were being lost in the oil patch and how shale drillers were falling like flies, using bankruptcy courts to shave their debts. Ed Wallace, star-telegram, "The Future is Now," 8 June 2018 Since major oil companies haven’t invested in long-term projects in recent years, the world will become far more reliant on U.S. shale drillers to meet the growing demand, Kaplan said. Collin Eaton, San Antonio Express-News, "Population gives Texas an edge, top banker says," 27 May 2018 Altogether, a major disruption and spike in prices is possible even if American shale drillers push up their production and Western countries release significant amounts of oil from their strategic reserves. New York Times, "U.S. Pullout From Iran Nuclear Deal May Unsettle Oil Markets," 9 May 2018 The transformation of the American oil industry over the past few years, largely as a result of shale drilling, has turned the United States from a major energy importer into a petroleum powerhouse. Stanley Reed, New York Times, "OPEC, After Bolstering Prices, Considers Ramping Up Oil Production," 22 June 2018 The contemporary décor uses contrasting hues of shale and black plastics with (reserved) piano black accents and the blue stitching (on the door trim, seats, steering wheel and shift boot. Mark Maynard,, "2018 Kia Niro PHEV: The future of plug-and-play," 13 July 2018 In Houston and throughout the US, the shale market is quite busy. Ilene Bassler, Houston Chronicle, "Q&A: Strict immigration policies ripple through talent pool," 12 July 2018 The fossil was found in a piece of 518-million-year-old shale in China’s Yunnan province. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Prehistoric Sea Creature Had Fanged, Killer Babies," 11 June 2018 Related reading From January to March, EOG Resources Inc., the biggest American shale producer, reported higher per-share profits than Exxon, a company five times its size. Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Exxon, Once a ‘Perfect Machine,’ Is Running Dry," 13 July 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for shale

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for shale

The first known use of shale was in 1747

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More Definitions for shale



English Language Learners Definition of shale

: a soft kind of rock that splits easily into flat pieces


\ˈshāl \

Kids Definition of shale

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

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