\ 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

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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 Energy companies combine horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique that injects vast amounts of water, along with sand and chemicals, underground to break up the gas-bearing shale. Michael Rubinkam, ajc, "Agency permanently bans fracking near Delaware River," 25 Feb. 2021 The firm also owns interests in shale and deepwater projects in the U.S., accounting for production of about 67,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, according to its website., "U.S. to Add China’s SMIC, CNOOC to Blacklist, Reuters Says," 30 Nov. 2020 Biden's messaging regarding fracking, or hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas or oil from hard rock such as shale, has been mixed. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Labor union chief knocks Biden for canceling the Keystone XL pipeline," 8 Feb. 2021 Above that aquifer and a layer of shale lies an upper aquifer in the Hopi mesas called the Toreva Sandstone Aquifer. Ian James,, "'Everything is drying up': As springs on Hopi land decline, a sacred connection is threatened," 7 Dec. 2020 As production drops due to the decline rates for shale, cash flows will demand bankruptcy. Rachel Adams-heard,, "Even Now, U.S. Oil Drillers Remain Focused on Output Over Debt," 23 Sep. 2020 Artem Abramov, who heads shale research at Rystad Energy, said the collapse in activity accelerated an existing decline in flaring. Liam Denning, Chron, "Texas railroad commissioner vents at France," 18 Jan. 2021 Chemical companies since 2010 have spent $96 billion to complete more than 200 projects linked to the U.S. shale industry, with a further $99 billion in projects under construction or in planning stages, according to the American Chemistry Council. Collin Eaton And Saabira Chaudhuri, WSJ, "Firms Like Dow Bet Billions on Plastics. Now There’s a Glut.," 15 Oct. 2020 The refining industry has a strong presence in swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, whereas the shale industry is dominant in red states. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "US fuel-makers could face 'irreparable' damage from demand collapse and the move to green policy," 13 Aug. 2020

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

8 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce shale (audio) \

Kids Definition of shale

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

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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

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