Definition of shuttle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈʃʌt(ə)l/


1A form of transport that travels regularly between two places: the nine o’clock shuttle from Edinburgh [as modifier]: a shuttle bus departs every 30 minutes
More example sentences
  • Paris has two airports, which both operate a regular shuttle bus service to the Disney resort, taking 45 minutes.
  • Free shuttle buses transport visitors between the two parks.
  • Volunteers who have official accreditation passes will be able to avail of free transport on the shuttle busses to the venues.
1.1 short for space shuttle.
Example sentences
  • Dr. Bonnie Dunbar set the US space record of 112 days in space aboard the shuttle and Russian space station Mir.
  • As the NASA shuttle orbiting the Earth docked with the Mir space station, the hacker disrupted the computer systems monitoring the medical conditions of the crew.
  • On the launchpad the shuttle weighs four and a half million pounds.
2A bobbin with two pointed ends used for carrying the weft thread across between the warp threads in weaving.
Example sentences
  • Different colored silks and metal threads have their own separate shuttles and are painstakingly worked backwards and forwards through the warps to create the complex design bands at each end of the textile.
  • Also on display on the cart are accessories once familiar to thousands of East Lancashire weavers - shuttles and pirns on which weft yarn was wound.
  • Not much later, she was settled into a comfortable rhythm, the shuttle darting in and out between the warp threads.
2.1A bobbin carrying the lower thread in a sewing machine.
Example sentences
  • Sara lowered her gaze to the tatting shuttle in her hand.
3 short for shuttlecock.
Example sentences
  • Nathan first played at six, Gail at four, her mother lobbing shuttles at her as she wielded a specially shortened racket.
  • Rallies last far longer than in tennis - about 10 shots more on average - and the shuttle is in play for roughly double the time.
  • I looked at the number of courts set up in the gym and saw the shuttle being played back and forwards.


[no object, with adverbial of direction]
1Travel regularly between two or more places: the Secretary of State shuttled to and fro seeking compromise
More example sentences
  • Soon she was shuttling regularly to Gdansk via Berlin to take advantage of cheap flights.
  • Expensive charter vacations now regularly shuttle wealthy Japanese tourists to Anne Shirley's Prince Edward Island.
  • In the meantime, the private players will go on finetuning the facilities they offer to regulars who shuttle between these cities.
ply, run, commute, alternate, come and go, go/travel back and forth, go/travel to and fro
1.1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Transport in a shuttle: the river taxi shuttled employees between the newspaper’s offices and the capital
More example sentences
  • Along with about two-dozen other bank employees being shuttled to work on a minibus, Shakir was waiting at the same checkpoint.
  • The ferries that used to shuttle area residents along the river stopped in the 1950s when a highway cut the neighborhood off from the waterfront.
  • Wind the clock forward half a millennia or so and Queen Elizabeth II wears the crown, and Hythe ferry is still shuttling passengers across Southampton Water.
ferry, take/run back and forth, chauffeur


Old English scytel 'dart, missile', of Germanic origin; compare with Old Norse skutill 'harpoon'; related to shoot. Sense 1 and the verb are from the movement of the bobbin from one side of the loom to the other and back.

  • Old English scytel meant ‘dart, missile’ and is from a Germanic source; Old Norse skutill ‘harpoon’ is related. The use for a form of transport going backwards and forwards between two fixed places stems from association with the movement of the shuttle used in weaving going from one side of the loom to the other. The word's use in space travel is from the 1960s.

Words that rhyme with shuttle

buttle, cuttle, rebuttal, scuttle, subtle, surrebuttal

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: shut¦tle

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