noun \ˈshelf\

: a flat board which is attached to a wall, frame, etc., and on which objects can be placed

geology : a flat area of rock, sand, etc., especially underwater

plural shelves \ˈshelvz\

Full Definition of SHELF

a :  a thin flat usually long and narrow piece of material (as wood) fastened horizontally (as on a wall) at a distance from the floor to hold objects
b :  one of several similar pieces in a closet, bookcase, or similar structure
c :  the contents of a shelf <the author of a shelf of best sellers>
:  something resembling a shelf in form or position: as
a :  a sandbank or ledge of rocks usually partially submerged
b :  a flat projecting layer of rock
c :  the submerged gradually sloping border of a continent or island :  continental shelf
shelf·ful \ˈshelf-ˌfl\ noun
shelf·like \ˈshelf-ˌlīk\ adjective
off the shelf
:  available from stock :  not made to order <off the shelf equipment>
on the shelf
:  in a state of inactivity or uselessness

Origin of SHELF

Middle English, probably from Old English scylfe; akin to Old Norse hlīthskjalf Odin's seat
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Furniture and Woodworking Terms

appoint, credenza, mission, settee

Rhymes with SHELF

SHELF Defined for Kids


noun \ˈshelf\
plural shelves \ˈshelvz\

Definition of SHELF for Kids

:  a flat piece (as of wood or metal) set above a floor (as on a wall or in a bookcase) to hold things
:  a flat area (as of rock)
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