From Middle English shaven, schaven, from Old English scafan (“to shave, scrape, shred, polish”), from Proto-Germanic *skabaną (“to scratch”), from Proto-Indo-European *skÀbʰ-, *skabʰ- (“to cut, split, form, carve”). Cognate with West Frisian skave, Dutch schaven (“to shave, plane”), German schaben (“to scrape, shave”), Danish skave, Swedish skava (“to scrape, chafe”), Icelandic skafa.
- (transitive) To make bald by using a tool such as a razor or pair of electric clippers to cut the hair close to the skin.
- (transitive) To cut anything in this fashion.
- The labourer with the bending scythe is seen / Shaving the surface of the waving green.
- (intransitive) To remove hair from one's face by this means.
- I had little time to shave this morning.
- (transitive) To cut finely, as with slices of meat.
- To skim along or near the surface of; to pass close to, or touch lightly, in passing.
- Now shaves with level wing the deep.
- 1899, Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, section 2
- […] I watched for sunken stones; I was learning to clap my teeth smartly before my heart flew out, when I shaved by a fluke some infernal sly old snag that would have ripped the life out of the tin–pot steamboat and drowned all the pilgrims; […]
- (archaic, transitive) To be hard and severe in a bargain with; to practice extortion on; to cheat.
- (US, slang, dated, transitive) To buy (a note) at a discount greater than the legal rate of interest, or to deduct in discounting it more than the legal rate allows.
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shave (plural shaves)
- An instance of shaving.
- I instructed the barber to give me a shave.
- A thin slice; a shaving.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Wright to this entry?)
- (US, slang, dated) An exorbitant discount on a note.
- (US, slang, dated) A premium paid for an extension of the time of delivery or payment, or for the right to vary a stock contract in any particular.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of N. Biddle to this entry?)
- A hand tool consisting of a sharp blade with a handle at each end; a spokeshave.