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: a hard rigid usually largely calcareous covering or support of an animal
: the hard or tough often thin outer covering of an egg (as of a bird or reptile) see egg illustration
: the covering or outside part of a fruit or seed especially when hard or fibrous
: shell material (as of mollusks or turtles) or their substance
: something that resembles a shell: such as
: a framework or exterior structure
especially : a building with an unfinished interior
: an external case or outside covering
the shell of a ship
: a thin usually spherical layer or surface enclosing a space or surrounding an object
an expanding shell of gas around a neutron star
: a casing without substance
mere effigies and shells of men—Thomas Carlyle
: an edible outer layer of usually baked or fried pastry dough or bread for holding a filling
a pastry shell
a taco salad in a tortilla shell
: a small beer glass
: an unlined article of outerwear
: a shell-bearing mollusk
: an impersonal attitude or manner that conceals the presence or absence of feeling
he retreated into his shell
: a narrow light racing boat propelled by one or more persons pulling oars or sculls
: any of the regions occupied by the orbits of a group of electrons of approximately equal energy surrounding the nucleus of an atom
: a projectile for cannon containing an explosive bursting charge
: a case (as of metal, paper, or plastic) that holds the charge of powder and shot or bullet used with breech-loading small arms
a shotgun shellcompare cartridge
: a plain usually sleeveless blouse or sweater
: a company or corporation that exists without assets or independent operations as a legal entity through which another company or corporation can conduct various dealings
shelled; shelling; shells
: to take out of a natural enclosing cover (such as a shell, husk, pod, or capsule)
: to separate the kernels of (corn, wheat, oats, etc.) from the cob, ear, or husk
: to score heavily against (someone, such as an opposing pitcher in baseball)
: to fall or scale off in thin pieces
: to cast the shell or exterior covering : fall out of the pod or husk
nuts which shell in falling
: to gather shells (as from a beach)
Noun the shell of a crab We collected shells at the beach. We're going to have stuffed shells for dinner. Verb They shelled the enemy troops. The town was shelled during the battle.
Recent Examples on the Web
NounThis is explored through baking, and in particular, the symbolism of the turtle–coming out of its shell and moving forward; however slowly that may be. —Christian Holub, EW.com, 2 Mar. 2023 The Away Carry-On has proven to be tried and true with its durable polycarbonate hard shell. —Paris Wilson, Condé Nast Traveler, 27 Feb. 2023 Once the car has been fully stripped of its useful parts, only then does its shell go to the crusher. —Ray Magliozzi, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Feb. 2023 Priced at $30, the portable sanitizer doubles as a toothbrush cover with its protective plastic shell and uses UV light technology to sterilize the bristles. —Emily Belfiore, Travel + Leisure, 11 Feb. 2023 Guests accommodated per performance: 1,410 to 1,761, depending on how the hall is configured through its nifty concert shell that travels on train tracks to change the look of the space. —Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel, 26 Jan. 2023 This shell-game with surpluses is what happened to Facebook. —WIRED, 23 Jan. 2023 Overfishing may put the queen conch—a large marine snail known for its showy shell and delectable flesh—on the path to extinction, U.S. government researchers concluded earlier this year after an extensive review of the species. —Byerik Stokstad, science.org, 23 Dec. 2022 The Zara Sequin Bomber Jacket is full of glitz and glam with its sparkling outer shell and comfortable elastic rib trim. —Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2022
VerbElsewhere on the long front line, Moscow has continued to shell civilian areas in Ukraine over the past few weeks as its offensive has ramped up, often with devastating consequences. —Matthew Mpoke Bigg, BostonGlobe.com, 5 Mar. 2023 The marketing and billing companies then transferred much of that money to shell companies that the family members created. —Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica, 25 Feb. 2023 Russia has continued to shell Kharkiv as well, Ukraine's second biggest city. —Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 18 Apr. 2022 But there’s definitely hope that future martian settlers will be able to shell peas, peel potatoes and maybe even brew beer with crops grown on their very own martian farms. —Korey Haynes, Discover Magazine, 9 Oct. 2018 There were limpets, mussels and clams, but shell and pincer scraps from the brown crab were particularly numerous. —Katie Hunt, CNN, 7 Feb. 2023 Russian troops are reinforcing their defensive positions on the Kryvyi Rih and Kherson axes and continue to shell Ukrainian forces and settlements on the right bank of the Dnipro River, Ukraine’s General staff said. —Bloomberg.com, 22 Nov. 2022 Hike winding trails, like the one-mile Petrified Forest loop through ancient lava trails, and check out petrified dinosaur bones and shell fossils at the visitors center. —Nina Kokotas Hahn, Condé Nast Traveler, 12 Jan. 2023 Terrified that Russian troops would shell any moving vehicles, witnesses pushed Ivanenka to the hospital in a shopping cart. —Anastacia Galouchka, Washington Post, 13 Dec. 2022 See More
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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