There are 2 main definitions of shelve in English:

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shelve1

Line breaks: shelve
Pronunciation: /ʃɛlv
 
/

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.

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.

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.

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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shelve2

Line breaks: shelve
Pronunciation: /ʃɛlv
 
/

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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