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Etymology 1[edit]

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), Low German schaven ‎(to scrape, scratch, shave), German schaben ‎(to scrape, shave), Danish skave, Swedish skava ‎(to scrape, chafe), Icelandic skafa, Gothic 𐍃𐌺𐌰𐌱𐌰𐌽 ‎(skaban, to shear, shave).


shave ‎(third-person singular simple present shaves, present participle shaving, simple past shaved or (obsolete) shove, past participle shaved or shaven)

  1. (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.
  2. (transitive) To cut anything in this fashion.
    • The labourer with the bending scythe is seen / Shaving the surface of the waving green.
  3. (intransitive) To remove hair from one's face by this means.
    I had little time to shave this morning.
  4. (transitive) To cut finely, as with slices of meat.
  5. To skim along or near the surface of; to pass close to, or touch lightly, in passing.
    • Milton
      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; []
  6. (archaic, transitive) To be hard and severe in a bargain with; to practice extortion on; to cheat.
  7. (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.
Derived terms[edit]
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Etymology 2[edit]

Old English sceafa


shave ‎(plural shaves)

  1. An instance of shaving.
    I instructed the barber to give me a shave.
  2. A thin slice; a shaving.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Wright to this entry?)
  3. (US, slang, dated) An exorbitant discount on a note.
  4. (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?)
  5. A hand tool consisting of a sharp blade with a handle at each end; a spokeshave.
Derived terms[edit]