Definition of shale in English:


Syllabification: shale
Pronunciation: /SHāl


Soft, finely stratified sedimentary rock that formed from consolidated mud or clay and can be split easily into fragile slabs.
More example sentences
  • The soils are developed on weathered materials derived from sandstone, shale, and limestone.
  • Glaciers have deposited shale, slate, schist, and limestone throughout the region.
  • Towering over the town was Turtle Mountain, a massive hulk of limestone and shale layered with veins of coal in its core.


mid 18th century: probably from German Schale; related to English dialect shale 'dish' (see scale2).



(also shaley) adjective
More example sentences
  • The Liassic in Mochras consists predominantly of alternating shaly limestones, marly siltstones, and micaceous mudstones.
  • The Green Point Formation is the more distal and is dominated by shale and shaley lime mudstones.
  • An organic-rich shaly horizon of this age can be traced into continental Europe and possibly into North and South America; the stratigraphy suggests regional transgression and deepening.

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