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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jeremy Takala, a biologist and member of the Yakama Nation Tribal Council, said the tribe has shovel-ready salmon habitat restoration projects waiting for funding. Tony Schick, ProPublica, 4 Aug. 2022 Although Duchamp worked with physical objects, framing a blast furnace as art was no more radical than displaying a shovel or urinal. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Nelson estimates that Cuyahoga and Summit counties have less than a dozen sites over 30 acres that are shovel ready right now. Sean Mcdonnell, cleveland, 8 July 2022 Sod cutting is basically digging out the lawn with a shovel or pick or special machine that cuts the sod into 12-inch strips a few inches deep. Los Angeles Times, 7 July 2022 Farmers grew up with shovel in hand ready to cut drainage ditches. Annie Proulx, The New Yorker, 27 June 2022 Last year, an alligator attacked a woman a few hours away in Hilton Head Island, S.C., and seriously injured her, prompting a neighbor to rescue her using a shovel. Sophie Reardon, CBS News, 25 June 2022 Thaddeus, however, is inclined to pick up a shovel and visit the graveyard. Joe Leydon, Variety, 22 June 2022 Also on Ramsay Street, Lloyd Marshall used a broom and shovel to remove trash from the curbs and storm drains. Lea Skene, Baltimore Sun, 20 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Use a potato fork or shovel to loosen soil all around the clump, working at least 1 foot away from the main stem. Megan Hughes, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 Aug. 2022 An effective way to do this is to stick a finger, soil probe, garden trowel, or shovel into the soil after 30 or so minutes of watering. James Fitzgerald, Popular Mechanics, 2 Aug. 2022 Find an elderly or disabled neighbor and shovel their driveway. Natasha Dado,, 19 Jan. 2022 China’s voracious appetite for the metal to shovel into steel furnaces sent prices above $50,000 a metric ton in 2007, a record that stood until last week. Joe Wallace, WSJ, 13 Mar. 2022 There’s a new tool for athletes who shovel down their recovery meals. Lauren Steele, Outside Online, 4 Sep. 2014 In addition, Kurtz noted that residents can help the city’s snow-removal efforts by doing the following: · Do not shovel or plow snow into city streets. Carol Kovach, cleveland, 7 Feb. 2022 Commissioner Dan Ryan asked people to shovel their sidewalks and look in on housed and unhoused neighbors. oregonlive, 23 Dec. 2021 His wife picked up the prescription and a few days later, Carlson felt well enough to shovel snow. Tom Murphy, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for shovel

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near shovel

shove it



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Statistics for shovel

Last Updated

15 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shovel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on shovel

Nglish: Translation of shovel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shovel for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about shovel


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