shov·​el·​ful ˈshə-vəl-ˌfu̇l How to pronounce shovelful (audio)
plural shovelfuls ˈshə-vəl-ˌfu̇lz How to pronounce shovelful (audio) also shovelsful ˈshə-vəlz-ˌfu̇l How to pronounce shovelful (audio)
: as much as a shovel will hold

Examples of shovelful in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Whole hogs cook all night in open brick pits fired with shovelfuls of oak coals. Robert F. Moss, Southern Living, 13 June 2023 Now, that's a shovelful. Star Tribune, 28 Nov. 2020 Put in a shovelful of good compost, or compost mixed with aged manure or worm castings. Pam Peirce, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Apr. 2021 Not a single shovelful has been turned on this stretch between the Victory neighborhood and the Design District. Dallas News, 28 Oct. 2022 What lay on the pillow was a charnel-house, a heap of pus and blood, a shovelful of putrid flesh. Namwali Serpell, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2022 The Hurricanes' historic impact on the draft that began in 1995 and ended, ironically, the same year Alabama coach Nick Saban began sending first-rounders to the draft by the shovelful, isn't to be discounted. Chase Goodbread, USA TODAY, 1 May 2022 In those cases, there’s not much DNA left behind, just as there might not be much Coccidioides DNA in a shovelful of dirt brought back by a field researcher. Stephanie Innes, The Arizona Republic, 29 Apr. 2022 Williams, dressed all in white, was granted the honor of turning over the first shovelful of dirt. Hanna Raskin, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Mar. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shovelful.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1533, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shovelful was in 1533

Dictionary Entries Near shovelful

Cite this Entry

“Shovelful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


shov·​el·​ful ˈshəv-əl-ˌfu̇l How to pronounce shovelful (audio)
plural shovelfuls -ˌfu̇lz How to pronounce shovelful (audio) also shovelsful -əlz-ˌfu̇l How to pronounce shovelful (audio)
: as much as a shovel will hold
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