\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 This is not a book to race through and then shelve away. Washington Post, "It’s been a rough year. Maybe these philosophers can help.," 18 Sep. 2020 King wasn’t the only one to shelve the season; 35 of the Cougars' players, five of whom were seniors, redshirted. Destine Gibson, Dallas News, "5 things Baylor fans need to know about Houston: Cougars hope to bounce back from disappointing 2019 season," 16 Sep. 2020 Council members who voted to shelve Jones’ original bill cited draft amendments floated at the last minute that did not make it to the floor for public discussion. Taylor Deville,, "Olszewski, Jones announce new police reform bill banning chokeholds," 8 Sep. 2020 Abe backed Trump's initial hard line on North Korea, but Tokyo was bewildered when the President appeared to shelve its interests in his rush to pal around with Kim Jong Un. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "The departure of Japan's PM comes at a foggy moment for US diplomacy.," 1 Sep. 2020 Companies are putting off hiring second-year MBA students after recruiters were forced to shelve their plans for face-to-face meetings and interviews. Patrick Thomas, WSJ, "M.B.A.s Are Usually Swimming in Job Offers by Now. Not This Year.," 31 Aug. 2020 The Big Ten and Pac-12 became the first Power 5 conferences to postpone their football seasons Tuesday, joining the Mid-American and Mountain West as Football Bowl Subdivision conferences to shelve fall sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic. John Haughey, Washington Examiner, "As Big Ten and Pac-12 postpone football seasons, Ron DeSantis lobbies ACC and SEC for September kickoffs," 12 Aug. 2020 However, the drink wasn’t a hit so the beverage company decided to shelve the product just two years later. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "Coca Cola Coffee Is Finally Coming to the U.S.," 5 Aug. 2020 The issue has been contentious for months, after the coronavirus pandemic forced local officials to shelve an ambitious plan to expand transportation options by asking voters to re-allocate the sales tax.. Bruce Selcraig,, "VIA board vote today could set November battle for San Antonio sales tax," 2 July 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of shelve

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for shelve


Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shelve

Time Traveler for shelve

Time Traveler

The first known use of shelve was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Statistics for shelve

Last Updated

26 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shelve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shelve


How to pronounce shelve (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!