shelf life


: the period of time during which a material may be stored and remain suitable for use
broadly : the period of time during which something lasts or remains popular

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The problem with the potent ingredient, though, is an extremely short shelf life. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 12 Nov. 2022 Yet with such short shelf life remaining, there is little hope that even the doses set to expire in February can be repurposed. Quartz, 22 Oct. 2022 Lettuce’s shelf life appeared to be too much for Liz Truss. Mark Heim |, al, 20 Oct. 2022 But as luck would have it, prune juice has a great shelf life. Shaina Loew-banayan, Bon Appétit, 19 Sep. 2022 In addition to its unique color, the purple tomato also has health benefits and a longer shelf life than garden variety red tomatoes, scientists say. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 17 Sep. 2022 Mifepristone has a shelf life of about 5 years and misoprostol, the other pill in the regimen, stays fresh for about 2 years. Kelsey Butler, Fortune, 7 Sep. 2022 Swapping out one oil or emulsifier for another not only can change the product’s texture or shelf life but can affect nutrition and allergy labeling. New York Times, 31 Aug. 2022 The Food and Drug Administration has extended the shelf life and expiration dates for certain at-home testing kits. Julia Marnin, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Aug. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1927, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shelf life was in 1927

Dictionary Entries Near shelf life

Cite this Entry

“Shelf life.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

shelf life


: the period of time something may be stored and still be good enough to use

Medical Definition

shelf life


: the period of time during which a material (as a food or drug) may be stored and remain suitable for use
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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