Definition of shovel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈʃʌv(ə)l/


1A tool resembling a spade with a broad blade and typically upturned sides, used for moving coal, earth, snow, or other material: an area of turf had been dug up by vandals using a pick and shovel
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.
spade, scoop;
Australian/New Zealand  banjo
archaic peel
1.1A machine or part of a machine having a shape or function similar to that of a shovel.
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 a 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 (shovels, shovelling, shovelled; US shovels, shoveling, shoveled)

[with object and adverbial]
1Move (coal, earth, snow, or similar) with a shovel: she shovelled 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), spade, dig, excavate, move, shift, heap, spoon, ladle, toss
1.1 informal Put or push (something, typically food) somewhere quickly and in large quantities: Dave was shovelling 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: /ˈʃʌv(ə)lfʊl/
noun (plural shovelfuls)
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.

Words that rhyme with shovel


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: shovel

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