There are 2 main definitions of shelve in English:

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shelve 1

Line breaks: shelve

verb

[with object]
1Place or arrange (items, especially books) on a shelf: we had catalogued and shelved all the books shipped in that day
More example sentences
  • I have a vague memory of the books being shelved under ‘C’ in the library when I were a lass.
  • One of the elderly librarians, who was shelving books nearby, scowled at us.
  • I have shelved the book once more in anger and it will remain until the next time I forget the cold harsh reality of cook books and their evil ways.
2Decide not to proceed with (a project or plan), either temporarily or permanently: plans to reopen the school have been shelved
More example sentences
  • The council had decided to temporarily shelve the proposal to standardise the sales illustrations of life insurers.
  • The plan was temporarily shelved due to capital starvation and a shortage of technology, as well as a lack of talent to carry out the project.
  • The water authority has temporarily shelved the plans because of local hostility.
Synonyms
put to one side, lay aside, pigeonhole, stay, stand over, keep in abeyance, suspend, mothball;
abandon, drop, abolish, withdraw, throw out, do away with, give up, take away, stop, put an end to, cancel, eliminate, cut, jettison;
North American put over, table, lay on the table, take a rain check on;
North American Law continue
informal put on ice, put on the back burner, put in cold storage, axe, ditch, dump, junk, chuck in
rare remit, respite
3Fit with shelves: one whole long wall was shelved
More example sentences
  • The walls were shelved all the way down, with the exception of the bathroom door.

Derivatives

shelver

1
noun
Example sentences
  • But the most important job lesson came from observing what we shelvers called the ‘lifers’: the full-time, professional librarians, and the amazing bitterness some of them exhibited.
  • But having once been hired as a shelver and fired for incompetence a few hours later, I can attest that library work is larger than it appears in the side mirror.
  • And several times the shelvers came up to me and smiled and thanked me.

Origin

Late 16th century (in the sense 'project like a shelf' (Shakespearean usage)): from shelves, plural of shelf1.

More
  • shelf from Middle English:

    Shelf is from Middle Low German schelf; related forms are Old English scylfe ‘partition’, scylf ‘crag’. The late 16th-century verb shelve had the sense ‘project like a shelf’, first found in Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona: ‘Her chamber is aloft. And built so shelving, that one cannot climb it’. The form is from shelves, the plural of shelf.

Words that rhyme with shelve

delve, helve, twelve

Definition of shelve in:

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There are 2 main definitions of shelve in English:

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shelve 2 Line breaks: shelve

verb

[no object, with adverbial]
(Of ground) slope downwards in a specified manner or direction: the ground shelved gently down to the water
More example sentences
  • From where I stood, the beach shelved steeply into a channel, perhaps chest deep and a long fly cast in width to the edge of the coral, where it rose to no more than my thigh.
  • Under water, the shingle beach shelves down to rows of small rocks and kelp beneath the low-water mark.
  • White sands shelve steeply down into clear blue-green water.

Origin

Late Middle English: origin uncertain; perhaps from shelf1.

More
  • shelf from Middle English:

    Shelf is from Middle Low German schelf; related forms are Old English scylfe ‘partition’, scylf ‘crag’. The late 16th-century verb shelve had the sense ‘project like a shelf’, first found in Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona: ‘Her chamber is aloft. And built so shelving, that one cannot climb it’. The form is from shelves, the plural of shelf.

Definition of shelve in:

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