shell

noun
\ ˈshel How to pronounce shell (audio) \
plural shells

Definition of shell

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a hard rigid usually largely calcareous covering or support of an animal
b : the hard or tough often thin outer covering of an egg (as of a bird or reptile) — see egg illustration
2 : the covering or outside part of a fruit or seed especially when hard or fibrous
3 : shell material (as of mollusks or turtles) or their substance
4 : something that resembles a shell: such as
a : a framework or exterior structure especially : a building with an unfinished interior
b(1) : an external case or outside covering the shell of a ship
(2) : a thin usually spherical layer or surface enclosing a space or surrounding an object an expanding shell of gas around a neutron star
c : a casing without substance mere effigies and shells of men— Thomas Carlyle
d : an edible outer layer of usually baked or fried pastry dough or bread for holding a filling a pastry shell a taco salad in a tortilla shell
f : a small beer glass
g : an unlined article of outerwear
5 : a shell-bearing mollusk
6 : an impersonal attitude or manner that conceals the presence or absence of feeling he retreated into his shell
7 : a narrow light racing boat propelled by one or more persons pulling oars or sculls
8 : any of the regions occupied by the orbits of a group of electrons of approximately equal energy surrounding the nucleus of an atom
9a : a projectile for cannon containing an explosive bursting charge
b : a case (as of metal, paper, or plastic) that holds the charge of powder and shot or bullet used with breech-loading small arms a shotgun shell — compare cartridge
10 : a plain usually sleeveless blouse or sweater
11 : a company or corporation that exists without assets or independent operations as a legal entity through which another company or corporation can conduct various dealings

shell

verb
shelled; shelling; shells

Definition of shell (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to take out of a natural enclosing cover (such as a shell, husk, pod, or capsule) shell peanuts
b : to separate the kernels of (corn, wheat, oats, etc.) from the cob, ear, or husk
2 : to throw shells at, upon, or into : bombard
3 : to score heavily against (someone, such as an opposing pitcher in baseball)

intransitive verb

1 : to fall or scale off in thin pieces
2 : to cast the shell or exterior covering : fall out of the pod or husk nuts which shell in falling
3 : to gather shells (as from a beach)

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Other Words from shell

Noun

shell adjective

Examples of shell in a Sentence

Noun

the shell of a crab We collected shells at the beach. We're going to have stuffed shells for dinner.

Verb

They shelled the enemy troops. The town was shelled during the battle.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Amid the turmoil, ownership of the dormant Tully’s chain has been shrouded in a tangle of shell companies with ties to Avenatti. James Queally, The Seattle Times, "Lawyer Michael Avenatti, accused of fraud and attempts to extort Nike, is arrested," 25 Mar. 2019 And then there's the bit where the planet is almost entirely made up of core, with thin shells of mantle and crust surrounding a giant metallic ball. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "What Would It Take to Land on Mercury? It's Time to Find Out, Scientists Say," 30 Aug. 2018 In addition to the Peanut Butter Lovers cup, Reese's will be releasing a Chocolate Lovers Cup that has a thicker chocolate shell made of a richer milk chocolate. Woman's Day, "We Tried the New Reese's Cup Made Strictly For Peanut Butter Lovers," 27 Mar. 2019 Claudette BariusUniversal Highlights of this movie include: Winston Duke in tortoise-shell glasses and a Howard sweatshirt. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "I Saw 'Us' and I Will Never Know Peace Again," 25 Mar. 2019 Specifically, in the McCourt, the performance hall whose retractable shell is the signature flourish of the 200,000-square-foot structure’s flexible design. Chloe Malle, Town & Country, "Is the Shed the Defining Arts Institution of a New New York City?," 14 Mar. 2019 Place tart pans on 2 rimmed baking sheets and bake tart shells until beginning to turn light golden around edges, 8 to 10 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Ruby Red Grapefruit Tartlets," 8 Mar. 2019 Microorganisms work together to break down organic materials (like leftover stems, fruit peels, and egg shells) to create a rich soil that provides lots of nutrients to all sorts of different plants. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Start Composting," 8 Jan. 2019 Divide among tart shells and bake until set, rotating positions of sheets on racks halfway through, 20 to 25 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Ruby Red Grapefruit Tartlets," 8 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In 2015, the Houthis laid siege to the city, occupying surrounding mountain ranges, sealing the entrances and shelling it mercilessly. Maggie Michael, Fox News, "'Unite with the devil': Yemen war binds US, allies, al-Qaida," 7 Aug. 2018 Yeltsin then ordered tanks to shell the Parliament on Oct. 4. David Satter, WSJ, "When Russian Democracy Died," 20 Sep. 2018 But Sderot is still close enough to be shelled by machine-gun fire, as a few homes were last month. NBC News, "Israeli border communities fearful of Palestinian protests and threats of fire," 28 June 2018 In January, shelling sparked a fire at the Red Sea Mills that damaged some of the wheat stored there, the U.N. said. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "U.N. Seeks Access to Grain Stored in Besieged Yemeni City as Millions Starve," 11 Feb. 2019 But fighting continued in corners of the complex. State media outlets in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates accused the Houthis of shelling civilian districts. New York Times, "Battle Intensifies for Yemeni Port as Dock Workers Still Unload Aid," 19 June 2018 The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Sunday that over the past month at least 30 civilians have been killed and another 52 wounded by shelling and airstrikes in the area, including three children and two women. Samy Magdy, The Seattle Times, "UN envoy arrives in Yemen after deadly weekend attack," 28 Jan. 2019 The neo-Moorish City Hall, a monument to multiculturalism that was shelled and burned, has been burnished to a high standard. Steven Erlanger, New York Times, "In a New Cold War With Russia, Balkans Become a Testing Ground," 10 Apr. 2018 Fox News host Sean Hannity has ties to shell companies that own tens of millions of dollars in real estate, including some purchased through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to a recent report. Leada Gore, AL.com, "Sean Hannity companies reportedly spent $90 million on property, including some in Alabama," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shell.' 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 shell

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1562, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for shell

Noun

Middle English, from Old English sciell; akin to Old English scealu shell, Old Norse skel, Lithuanian skelti to split, Greek skallein to hoe

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Statistics for shell

Last Updated

17 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shell

The first known use of shell was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for shell

shell

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shell

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the hard outer covering of an animal, insect, etc., that protects it
: the hard outer covering of an egg
: the hard outer covering of a nut, fruit, or seed

shell

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shell (Entry 2 of 2)

: to remove the shell or outer covering of (something)
: to shoot shells at (someone or something) using large guns
US, informal : to score heavily against (a pitcher) in baseball

shell

noun
\ ˈshel How to pronounce shell (audio) \

Kids Definition of shell

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a stiff hard covering of an animal (as a turtle, oyster, or crab)
2 : the tough outer covering of an egg
3 : the outer covering of a nut, fruit, or seed especially when hard or tough walnut shells
4 : something like a shell (as in shape, function, or material) a pastry shell
5 : a narrow light racing boat rowed by one or more persons
6 : a metal or paper case holding the explosive charge and the shot or object to be fired from a gun or cannon

Other Words from shell

shelled \ ˈsheld \ adjective soft-shelled crabs

shell

verb
shelled; shelling

Kids Definition of shell (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to remove the shell or outer covering of shell nuts
2 : to remove the kernels of grain from (as a cob of corn)
3 : to shoot shells at or upon They shelled the enemy troops.

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More from Merriam-Webster on shell

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shell

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shell

Spanish Central: Translation of shell

Nglish: Translation of shell for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shell for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about shell

Comments on shell

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