shelf

noun
\ ˈshelf How to pronounce shelf (audio) \
plural shelves\ ˈshelvz How to pronounce shelves (audio) \

Definition of shelf

1a : a thin flat usually long and narrow piece of material (such as wood) fastened horizontally (as on a wall) at a distance from the floor to hold objects
b : one of several similar pieces in a closet, bookcase, or similar structure
c : the contents of a shelf the author of a shelf of best sellers
2 : something resembling a shelf in form or position: such as
a : a sandbank or ledge of rocks usually partially submerged
b : a flat projecting layer of rock
c : the submerged gradually sloping border of a continent or island : continental shelf
off the shelf
: available from stock : not made to order off the shelf equipment
on the shelf
: in a state of inactivity or uselessness

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Other Words from shelf

shelfful \ ˈshelf-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce shelfful (audio) \ noun
shelflike \ ˈshelf-​ˌlīk How to pronounce shelflike (audio) \ adjective

Examples of shelf in a Sentence

Put the vase on the shelf. the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet Will you get that book down off the shelf? We don't have much shelf space.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Sam Calagione’s boil kettle—discolored from heavy use and topped with a repurposed kitchen pot lid, looking a bit like a mismatched hat—didn’t arrive alone last week to the storage shelves at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Theresa Mcculla, Smithsonian, "Here’s What’s Brewing in the New Smithsonian Beer Collections," 16 Sep. 2019 Further, as many of the items on the supermarket shelf are not approved by the FDA, there is limited oversight into their production, and the amount of CBD, if any, that these products contain are often mislabeled or misleading. Jenny Wilkerson, chicagotribune.com, "Is CBD a rising star or just a popular fad?," 12 Sep. 2019 Instead, hang them from the underside of the shelf to really maximize your storage. Kaitlin Menza, House Beautiful, "This Zen Chicago Kitchen Has So Much Hidden Functionality," 9 Sep. 2019 Families are also waiting hours for sand bags, and food and water are flying off the shelves. CBS News, "Dorian expected to be "extremely dangerous" as it heads for U.S. — live updates," 31 Aug. 2019 Across much of the state, residents picked the shelves clean of bottled water and lined up at gas stations Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency, clearing the way to bring in more fuel. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Florida preps for ‘absolute monster’ of a storm," 30 Aug. 2019 Shopkeepers have relegated Japanese products to the bottom shelf or removed them from view altogether. The Economist, "An old grudge between Japan and South Korea is getting out of hand," 29 Aug. 2019 Along much of Florida’s east coast, as the storm approached, shoppers rushed to stock up on food and emergency supplies at supermarkets and hardware stores and picked the shelves clean of bottled water. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "5 things that make Dorian a dangerous hurricane," 29 Aug. 2019 The store signs visible in the clip and the shelves match those in video footage from the store taken by news outlets. Echo Huang, Quartz, "Here are the crazy scenes from Costco’s opening day in China," 27 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shelf.' 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 shelf

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for shelf

Middle English, probably from Old English scylfe; akin to Old Norse hlīthskjalf Odin's seat

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Statistics for shelf

Last Updated

19 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shelf

The first known use of shelf was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for shelf

shelf

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shelf

: a flat board which is attached to a wall, frame, etc., and on which objects can be placed
geology : a flat area of rock, sand, etc., especially underwater

shelf

noun
\ ˈshelf How to pronounce shelf (audio) \
plural shelves\ ˈshelvz \

Kids Definition of shelf

1 : a flat piece (as of wood or metal) set above a floor (as on a wall or in a bookcase) to hold things
2 : a flat area (as of rock)

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More from Merriam-Webster on shelf

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shelf

Spanish Central: Translation of shelf

Nglish: Translation of shelf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shelf for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shelf

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