\ 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

About $20 million that was spent on the project can’t be recovered because of the decision to shelve the project by the Walker administration, Thompson said. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Transportation secretary to Gov. Tony Evers says lawmakers should raise gas tax in 2021," 26 July 2019 Detroit is cutting against the grain by employing a run-heavy attack under new coordinator Darrell Bevell, and Johnson was stringing together a strong rookie season (5.4 yards per carry) before a knee injury shelved him for the final six games. 42. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "50 things to know about NFL teams' training camps in 2019," 15 July 2019 At her press conference, Mrs Lam said the central authorities had supported both her efforts to introduce the bill and her decision to shelve it. The Economist, "Hong Kong’s leader backs down over controversial extradition bill," 15 June 2019 The county adopted a $100-million homelessness plan to build five regional homeless shelters, but a year later shelved it in the face of protests. Gale Holland,, "Why L.A. County’s homelessness crisis has been decades in the making," 5 June 2019 The injury was similar to a torn tendon in his left hand sustained in December 2016 that shelved him the rest of his freshman campaign. Gary Bedore, kansascity, "KU’s Udoka Azubuike clear for full participation in Jayhawks’ summer basketball drills," 4 June 2019 And Taco Bell, which had actually created the idea 20 years before, and had shelved it because of corporate in-fighting, was planning to release the product and brought this guy along for the journey. Anna Diamond, Smithsonian, "A Crispy, Salty, American History of Fast Food," 30 Aug. 2018 The administration previously considered dramatic measures affecting telecommunications policy only to shelve them. Shane Harris, Washington Post, "Trump eyes executive order expanding power to block deals between U.S., foreign telecom firms," 29 June 2018 Other cases don't make it that far because criminal investigators shelve them, despite requirements they be pursued. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "AP report: U.S. military often fails young sex assault victims on bases," 13 Mar. 2018

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

14 Aug 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).


not constant or steady

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