\ 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 Easing off the stalemate will shelve, for now, the stark divisions between moderate and progressive lawmakers who make up the Democrats’ so-slim House majority. Lisa Mascaro And Kevin Freking,, 24 Aug. 2021 After his midseason trade to Dallas in 2019, Hardaway only played in 19 games before the Mavericks decided to shelve him and recommend surgery to repair a lingering stress reaction in his left tibia. Dallas News, 3 Aug. 2021 Former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Dylan Cozens, who last played in the major leagues in 2019, has decided to shelve his baseball dream in favor of another one: playing professional football. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, 23 June 2021 Dear originally recorded Preacher’s Sigh & Potion in 2008, but ultimately decided to shelve the album until now. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 9 June 2021 The meager output was the direct result of the Wolverines' decision to shelve their passing game. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, 12 Sep. 2021 This holds especially true since the pandemic forced the symphony to curtail the second half of its 2019-20 season and shelve its entire 2020-21 season altogether. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 31 July 2021 Austin Independent School District in Texas had planned to shelve its remote-learning option after the state would not provide funding for virtual learning. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 31 July 2021 Wendy Sherman, the deputy secretary of state, was responding to Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng, who told her in a meeting Monday that China wants to shelve differences while seeking common ground. Ken Moritsugu, Star Tribune, 26 July 2021

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

27 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shelve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2021.

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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
: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on shelve

Nglish: Translation of shelve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shelve for Arabic Speakers


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