\ 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

The ends of the island contain shelving for decor and cookbooks. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "A 15-foot island made this Chandler couple's kitchen the entertaining space they craved," 13 June 2019 Also worth flaunting: eye-catching book covers, facing out on a bookrack rather than shelved with only the spine showing. Sunset, "10 Ways to Decorate with Books," 22 Jan. 2018 But everyday life has a way of taking over and Doris went on to motherhood and a more practical career in nursing, shelving her dream of becoming a singer/songwriter. Vincent T. Davis, San Antonio Express-News, "Gift of love resurrects San Antonio woman’s dream 70 years later," 22 June 2018 Back then, black labels like LaFace, Uptown, Motown and Bad Boy—with the exception of Cash Money— were bought then shelved almost systematically. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Music Industry Veteran David Linton Talks Black Executive Inclusion: 'Let's Get It Right This Time'," 1 June 2018 That move, however, stalled after smartphone maker Xiaomi shelved its plan to raise at least $5 billion that way in an initial public offering without any official explanation of what went wrong. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "Irrational Exuberance Endangers China’s Nasdaq," 3 Apr. 2019 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

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

19 Jun 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

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