\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

In the shale play, big data is capturing and applying information in real time. Houston Chronicle, "Competition for top talent keeps pay scale high in oil industry," 13 July 2018 Lilis has since increased its Delaware acreage by more than five times to about 20,000 acres, ahead of the land rush that has enveloped the shale play recently. Jordan Blum, San Antonio Express-News, "Lilis may be an acquisition target," 13 July 2018 Founded in 1917 at the dawn of the oil era in Houston, V&E has become one of the country’s largest and most profitable firms thanks to the U.S. shale boom. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, "Texas Investigators Seek Felony Fleeing-the-Scene Charge Against Prominent Oil Lawyer," 28 June 2018 Argentina is ramping up production of the fuel in Vaca Muerta, the Patagonian shale play where Chevron Corp. and DowDuPont Inc. were among the first to get drilling going. Jonathan Gilbert,, "Rick Perry Wants to Help Argentina Be More Like Texas," 16 June 2018 Large, rugged and round as marbles, the granules found there are ideally shaped to prop open crevices in shale rock so that the oil can seep out freely. David Wethe / Bloomberg, Time, "Why This Sand From Texas Is Suddenly Worth $80 a Ton," 10 July 2018 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

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

11 Nov 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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by force of circumstances

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