shell

noun
\ˈshel \
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 crust for holding a filling a pastry shell a taco salad in a tortilla shell

e : band 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

Synonyms & Antonyms for shell

Synonyms: Noun

exterior, face, outside, skin, surface, veneer

Synonyms: Verb

batter, blitz, blitzkrieg, bomb, bombard, cannonade

Antonyms: Noun

inside, interior

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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

Fils-Aime offered a peek at his first-blush experience with the Switch, which actually came from holding a basic, plastic shell. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Nintendo president: “I compete for time,” not against Xbox, PlayStation," 3 Oct. 2018 Scientists think the merger generated a powerful explosion that ejected a shell of material far out into space. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Faster Than Light? Neutron-Star Merger Shot Out a Jet with Seemingly Impossible Speed," 5 Sep. 2018 These unpredictable elements are why, per Outside, race directors require every runner to tote an emergency blanket, a hat, gloves, and a rain shell. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "5 Things to Know About the 106-Mile Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc Race," 4 Sep. 2018 The strangely smooth moons such as Europa and Enceladus are now known to be shells of ice covering gigantic oceans. Dennis Overbye, BostonGlobe.com, "Bradford Smith, 86, dies; showed postcards from outer space," 13 July 2018 The strangely smooth moons like Europa and Enceladus are now known to be shells of ice covering gigantic oceans. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Bradford Smith, Who Showed Postcards From Outer Space, Dies at 86," 11 July 2018 That could explain how a 1,000-square-foot shell of a house in the heart of Silicon Valley sold for close to $1 million dollars. Mark Strassmann, CBS News, "Families earning $117,000 now qualify as "low income" in California's Bay Area," 26 June 2018 The home’s exterior, a curvaceous shell of vertical redwood planks, is eye-catching and novel, and its interior layout matches that intriguing preview. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Coolest homes: 10 unique modern homes featured on azcentral," 21 June 2018 Today, Gerd Muller is a shell of himself, Nene Cubillas will be 70 soon and Gordon Banks battles health issues. Greg Cote, miamiherald, "Catching up with the World Cup legends who shared a career's winter in Fort Lauderdale," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

On Sunday, Israeli shelling killed three Palestinian militants from the smaller Islamic Jihad group after the troops found a bomb planted along the border. NBC News, "Mortar shells fired from Gaza, Israeli military says," 29 May 2018 On Sunday, Israeli shelling killed three Palestinian militants from the smaller Islamic Jihad group after the troops found a bomb planted along the border. Washington Post, "Israeli military: More than 25 mortar shells fired from Gaza," 29 May 2018 On Sunday, Israeli shelling killed three militants from the smaller Islamic Jihad group, which vowed retaliation. Fox News, "Israel, Hamas trade fire on Gaza border; Palestinian killed," 28 May 2018 The city is expected to give Amazon up to $15 million over seven years, dependent on the exact number of jobs created, while the state will shell over another $87 million—far less in incentives than what has been doled out in the past. Cari Wade Gervin, Curbed, "Will Amazon be good for Nashville?," 21 Nov. 2018 Newsletter Sign-up Two Palestinians were killed by an Israeli airstrike and three Israelis were wounded by shelling from Gaza. Felicia Schwartz, WSJ, "Truce Called After Israel Strikes Gaza Over Rockets, Arson," 15 July 2018 Tensions have soared in recent months, as both sides have shelled border posts and villagesr. Aijaz Hussain, The Seattle Times, "India, Pakistan trade fire in Kashmir; 2 dead, 8 wounded," 2 June 2018 Both are small and hard-shelled and are sometimes even covered in a protective coating of calcium oxalate. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Do Mama Stick Insects Get Eaten to Transport Their Eggs?," 30 May 2018 If peas become overripe, shell them and spread them on a flat surface for 3 weeks or until completely dry. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "Growing Peas Has Never Been Easier Than This," 31 Mar. 2017

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

11 Dec 2018

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

: to score heavily against (a pitcher) in baseball

shell

noun
\ˈshel \

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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