\ ˈshelv How to pronounce shelve (audio) \
shelved; shelving

Definition of shelve

transitive verb

1 : to furnish with shelves
2 : to place on a shelf shelve books
3a : to remove from active service
b : to put off or aside shelve a project

intransitive verb

: to slope in a formation like a shelf

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Other Words from shelve

shelver noun

Examples of shelve in a Sentence

The books were shelved according to category. let's shelve the project for now

Recent Examples on the Web

Instagram could still decide to shelve the idea altogether. Rebecca Dancer, Teen Vogue, "Instagram Reportedly Considers School Stories Feature," 6 Nov. 2018 Just because Musk is no longer following through his plan to Tesla private doesn’t mean that SEC investigators are going to shelve their questioning. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "What Elon Musk gained from his Tesla indecision," 25 Aug. 2018 Manchester United are believed to have shelved plans to sign Juventus' £50m rated defender Alex Sandro, and are now focusing on Valencia left-back José Luis Gayà as a more financially viable option., "Man Utd Scrap Plans to Sign £50m Rated Alex Sandro & Switch Focus to Valencia Star Left-Back," 24 June 2018 Apple had some big plans for this year’s iOS 12 update, but has decided to shelve some of them to 2019 to focus on its mobile operating system’s performance, according to a new report. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Why Apple Might Have Delayed Big iPhone Software Updates to 2019," 30 Jan. 2018 Later, senior executives including Mr. Zuckerberg expressed concerns that the effort would harm user engagement and the project was shelved, the people said. Deepa Seetharaman, WSJ, "Facebook’s Lonely Conservative Takes on a Power Position," 23 Dec. 2018 Wright missed the first six games after knee surgery, came back to play in three, then was shelved again when the knee continued to be an issue. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "What Pete Carroll said Monday: Good and bad news on Chris Carson, D.J. Fluker; Mychal Kendricks is back," 3 Dec. 2018 Sabathia didn't make the one-day trip down from New York and neither did the game's original starting pitcher - Masahiro Tanaka, who is shelved for several weeks after injuring both hamstrings. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Yankees-Nationals: Juan Soto rips go-ahead homer in game he started in minor leagues," 18 June 2018 The glass shelves slide out and are designed to contain spills. Betty Gold, Good Housekeeping, "7 Best Counter-Depth Refrigerators to Buy in 2019, Reviewed By Kitchen Appliance Experts," 27 Feb. 2019

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

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for shelve


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Statistics for shelve

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shelve

The first known use of shelve was in 1598

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More Definitions for shelve



English Language Learners Definition of shelve

: to put (something) on a shelf
: to stop doing or thinking about (something) for a period of time
US : to make (someone) unable to play or perform


\ ˈshelv How to pronounce shelve (audio) \
shelved; shelving

Kids Definition of shelve

1 : to place or store on a shelf shelve books
2 : to put off or aside : defer The plan has been shelved for now.

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More from Merriam-Webster on shelve

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shelve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shelve

Spanish Central: Translation of shelve

Nglish: Translation of shelve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shelve for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shelve

What made you want to look up shelve? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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