Definition of sheaf in English:

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Pronunciation: /ʃiːf/

noun (plural sheaves /ʃiːvz/)

1A bundle of grain stalks laid lengthways and tied together after reaping.
Example sentences
  • A widespread custom, also designed to please the prophet and maximise crops, was to leave uncut on the field the last sheaf of grain, tying it into a special twist, known as ‘Il'ia's beard’.
  • Reaping will be by scythe and a 1953 Ferguson tractor, stooking - stacking the sheaves - will be by hand and threshing will involve a Victorian barn thresher.
  • The reaper and self-binder (which bound the grain into sheaves mechanically) enabled farmers to work vast tracts with small crews.
1.1A bundle of objects of one kind, especially papers: he waved a sheaf of papers in the air
More example sentences
  • She pulled a sheaf of papers from her knapsack and shuffled through them.
  • Upon making a decision the Emperor would have his servants place a sheaf of paper either over or under the rock.
  • Today morning while stapling a sheaf of papers, I forgot that my finger was below and I was in such a fit of caffeine-induced working enthusiasm, I stapled my finger along with the papers.
bundle, bunch, stack, pile, heap, mass, armful, collection
informal load, wodge


[with object]
Bundle into sheaves: the corn and barley had to be sheafed and stooked
More example sentences
  • She had working hands that knew the feel of turf in the spring, the cuts and scrapes from sheafing oats, the soil of picking spuds in the back-end, all part of the annual cycle which had remained unchanged for years until more recent times.
  • The rye straw would be scutched or flayed during the long winter nights, sheafed and left ready for the thatcher.
  • The wooden bins, wisp-floored and empty of mice, will soon be heaped high by the strong arms of laughing young men boasting of the height of their sheafs, the speed of their reaping, and the goodness of their grains.


Old English scēaf, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schoof 'sheaf' and German Schaub 'wisp of straw', also to the verb shove.

Words that rhyme with sheaf

aperitif, beef, belief, brief, chief, enfeoff, fief, grief, interleaf, leaf, Leif, lief, Mazar-e-Sharif, misbelief, motif, naif, O'Keeffe, reef, seif, Sharif, shereef, sportif, Tenerife, thief

For editors and proofreaders

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