shov·​el | \ ˈshə-vəl How to pronounce shovel (audio) \

Definition of shovel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a hand implement consisting of a broad scoop or a more or less hollowed out blade with a handle used to lift and throw material
b : something that resembles a shovel
c : an excavating machine especially : a hydraulic diesel-engine driven power shovel
2 : shovelful


shoveled or shovelled; shoveling or shovelling\ ˈshə-​və-​liŋ How to pronounce shovel (audio) , ˈshəv-​liŋ \

Definition of shovel (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to take up and throw with a shovel
2 : to dig or clean out with a shovel
3 : to throw or convey roughly or in a mass as if with a shovel shoveled his food into his mouth

intransitive verb

: to use a shovel

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Synonyms for shovel

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of shovel in a Sentence

Verb He is outside shoveling snow. I have to shovel the driveway. I had to shovel for an hour to clear the driveway. The snow was so deep we had to shovel a path to our front door. Stop shoveling food into your mouth.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The children had broken into the property — aided by a crowbar, rocks and a shovel — and found a handgun, two shotguns, an AK-47 and ample ammunition, law enforcement said. Washington Post, 3 June 2021 Just how often did Roman scheme up quick-hitting screens and shovel passes for Duvernay? Jonas Shaffer,, 1 June 2021 Using a shovel or pick is not an attractive option. oregonlive, 16 May 2021 Upgrading Your Fence Game To install the screen, mark the post centers on the ground, and use a posthole digger or shovel to dig holes at least 30 in. Neal Barrett, Popular Mechanics, 15 May 2021 To properly extinguish a fire, pour water on it, stir the contents with a shovel or rake and then add more water. Laura Schulte, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 May 2021 Bottom line: This shovel means business, and anyone who uses it looks great, a win-win where Mom is concerned. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2021 For small infestations in garden beds, lesser celandine may be dug up using a hand trowel or shovel. Tim Johnson,, 2 May 2021 That would seem to indicate that even if plans to build a stadium moved forward, a shovel entering the ground remains a long way off, and the opening of such a facility is years away. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb To recap: President Biden wants Congress to shovel out hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure, which the EPA then will tie up in a permitting morass—unless, of course, the projects advance climate or social-justice goals. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 11 June 2021 Begin to shovel up the dead cicadas that have fallen into your yard. Felicity Warner, USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2021 Courtesy of Amazon Need to shovel out large driveways or sidewalks? Rebecca Carhart, Travel + Leisure, 26 Feb. 2021 People don’t go to places like Gary Danko or Baumé with the expectation that the food is mere sustenance to shovel down their gullets. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 Feb. 2021 Or shovel your driveway without pausing every five minutes to shake out your arms. Jenny Mccoy,, 11 May 2021 Enough snow to shovel and plow is possible in cities such as Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton, New York, AccuWeather said. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2021 Others are located on parklands that don’t shovel parking lots in the winter, causing pileups outside snow gates. Gregory Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Mar. 2021 Candidates gave their thoughts on an ordinance requiring residents to shovel snow. James T. Norman,, 5 Mar. 2021

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for shovel


Middle English, from Old English scofl; akin to Old High German scūfla shovel, Old English scūfan to thrust away

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Learn More About shovel

Time Traveler for shovel

Time Traveler

The first known use of shovel was before the 12th century

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Statistics for shovel

Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shovel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for shovel



English Language Learners Definition of shovel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tool with a long handle that is used for lifting and throwing dirt, sand, snow, etc.
: the part of a machine (such as a backhoe) that picks up and moves dirt, sand, snow, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of shovel (Entry 2 of 2)

: to lift and throw (dirt, sand, snow, etc.) with a shovel
: to remove snow from (a sidewalk, driveway, etc.) with a shovel
: to create (a path) by removing snow with a shovel


shov·​el | \ ˈshə-vəl How to pronounce shovel (audio) \

Kids Definition of shovel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a tool with a long handle and broad scoop used to lift and throw loose material (as dirt or snow)
2 : as much as a shovel will hold a shovel of sand


shoveled or shovelled; shoveling or shovelling

Kids Definition of shovel (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to lift or throw with a shovel shovel snow
2 : to dig or clean out with a shovel I shoveled out the sheep pens.
3 : to move large amounts of into something quickly He shoveled food into his mouth.


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