\ ˈshelv \
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

The problem: Shopping tends to be a visual medium and people are used to pages upon pages, or shelves upon shelves, of items from which to choose. Rani Molla, Recode, "Amazon wants brands to advertise Alexa voice shopping — essentially for free," 26 Nov. 2018 Most of the space is built to pull double duty, with a partition used as storage space and a pegged wall that creates a grid for shelving or hanging odds and ends. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Compact apartment fits everything you need in 450 square feet," 1 Oct. 2018 Aspen and towns in Arizona — which had shelved fireworks shows because of fire risk — are also experimenting with drone shows. Ryan Suppe, USA TODAY, "Drones replace July 4th fireworks in western towns worried about wildfires. But where's the 'boom'?," 3 July 2018 Stacks of cards and mini bats line shelves in his room. Marc Bona,, "Cleveland Indians gain 10-year-old fan in Iowa," 17 Apr. 2018 The 28-year-old loves to perform -- sometimes in an aisle where a cute grocery store employee is shelving panko bread crumbs -- but the whole supermarket is her oyster to dance out her feelings. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Tessa Violet Presents a Dizzy Dance Performance in a Grocery Store for 'Crush' Video: Premiere," 15 June 2018 With Kuznetsov shelved, the Capitals needed their captain and leading goal-scorer to raise the level of his game even higher. Tyler Horka,, "Stanley Cup Final: Capitals, Holtby Hang on in Game 2 to Even Series," 30 May 2018 In response to Israeli worries, Russia also has shelved plans to arm Syria with sophisticated air defense assets, such as the long-range S-300 systems that could pose a significant threat to Israeli aircraft. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Seattle Times, "Putin seeks to defuse downing of Russian plane off Syria," 18 Sep. 2018 That is according to the Daily Mail, who have reported that the Premier League giants have shelved their proposals to increase their current 75,000 seater stadium and hand over significant funds to their first-team boss instead., "Man Utd Shelve Stadium Expansion Plans to Save Funds for Mourinho Summer Spending Spree," 1 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

16 Jan 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

: to make (someone) unable to play or perform


\ ˈshelv \
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

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