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 With larger amounts of cicadas, start by using a broom, rake or even a snow shovel to collect them into piles. Felicity Warner, USA TODAY, 27 Apr. 2021 Cipriano smacked his snow shovel to the ground in front of the lynx. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Apr. 2021 The golden snow shovel award goes to Pleasant Lake, MN, where 8.5 inches fell just south of St. Cloud on Sunday morning! Todd Nelson, Star Tribune, 28 Feb. 2021 Word is out in the neighborhood about our shovel and our T-bar tool to turn off water at the main valve. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, 18 Feb. 2021 Rule Hill Prince allegedly put the man in a chokehold and hit him in the head with a shovel before punching him in the face. Fox News, 6 May 2021 Chatter around the speculative soar in real estate values around the Green Line Extension began well before the first shovel hit the ground., 4 Apr. 2021 Lee was equipped with a full set of avalanche safety gear, including an avalanche beacon, rescue probe, shovel, harness and avalanche airbag system, McDaniel said. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Apr. 2021 It’s not a car, or a gun, or a knife, or a shovel, or a candlestick — all of which can be used with homicidal intention, but are mostly used for traveling, hunting, eating, gardening, and setting the mood, respectively. Isaac Schorr, National Review, 27 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 But nothing will stop hard-working right-wing media personalities from cooking up some new culture war slop to shovel into the eager mouths of the conservative base. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, 4 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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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

23 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shovel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 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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