Definition of shovel in English:


Syllabification: shov·el
Pronunciation: /ˈSHəvəl


  • 1A tool with a broad flat blade and typically upturned sides, used for moving coal, earth, snow or other material.
    More example sentences
    • Hand tools such as spades, shovels, sickles etc, which currently attract a 16 per cent excise duty will also be fully exempt.
    • Much of the work is done manually using basic tools like hammers, shovels, axes and mammoties, a spade-like implement common throughout Sri Lanka.
    • Digging tools like rakes, shovels, pitch forks and spade are some of the basic tools used by professional gardeners as well as beginners.
  • 1.1A machine or part of a machine having a shape or function similar to that of a shovel.
    More example sentences
    • If you are mining by open pit, your haul trucks and shovels will be diesel or electric.
    • A mechanical shovel was used to load lorries resulting in the decimation of the surface.
    • Two workmen and a mechanical shovel would sort out the whole sorry mess in one weekend at a tiny fraction of the stupid price they are talking about for a bridge.
  • 1.2An amount of something carried or moved with shovel: a few shovels of earth
    More example sentences
    • They are out with shovels of gravel and buckets of tar when major repair work is necessary.
    • To this day, the Government has not moved a shovel at the proposed site.
    • Everyone was tense as shovels of dirt were tossed into the air.

verb (shoveled, shoveling ; British shovelled, shovelling)

[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Move (coal, earth, snow, or similar material) with a shovel: she shoveled coal on the fire
    More example sentences
    • She went out and helped the boys shovel snow out of the drive and part of the street.
    • Once the first few inches of ice formed, men were put on the ice to shovel any snow that fell.
    • Have your kids help shovel the snow off the driveway and use that excess snow to build a huge snow fort.
    scoop (up), dig, excavate
  • 1.1Remove snow from (an area) with a shovel: I’ll clean the basement and shovel the walk
    More example sentences
    • In the winter you worked shoveling sidewalks and setting up pins in the bowling alley.
    • As for Vikings fans, well, don't they have a bunch of snow to shovel or something?
    • Besides, we're going to be trapped inside or shoveling snow the next couple days.
  • 1.2 informal Put or push (something, typically food) somewhere quickly and in large quantities: Dave was shoveling pasta into his mouth
    More example sentences
    • He regretfully stopped shoveling food onto his plate, and only ate half of what he put on there.
    • She lapped up her food happily and I turned back to my plate and started shoveling food in my mouth.
    • Skye got very annoyed very quickly, and shoveled her food in her mouth as fast as she could with her fork.



Pronunciation: /-ˌfo͝ol/
noun (plural shovelfuls)
More example sentences
  • All she needed to do was dump a shovelful of dirt into the flat, pick it up and shake it over the row.
  • I add a shovelful each of sand and peatmoss to each six shovelfuls of the first mixture.
  • You can top the brown layers with a shovelful of manure or soil to help heat up the pile and speed composting.


Old English scofl, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schoffel, German Schaufel, also to the verb shove.

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