English [ edit ]
A conch shell
Etymology [ edit ]
Middle English , from schelle Old English , from sċiell Proto-West Germanic , from *skallju Proto-Germanic , from *skaljō Proto-Indo-European *(s)kelH- ( “ to split, cleave ” ).
West Frisian skyl ( “ peel, rind ” ), Dutch schil ( “ peel, skin, rink ” ), Low German Schell ( “ shell, scale ” ), Irish scelec ( “ pebble ” ), Latin silex ( “ pebble, flint ” ), siliqua ( “ pod ” ), Old Church Slavonic сколика ( skolika, “ shell ” ). More at .
shale Doublet of .
( computing ) : From being viewed as an outer layer of interface between the user and the operating-system internals.
Pronunciation [ edit ]
shell ( plural ) shells
hard external covering of an animal.
calcareous or chitinous external covering of mollusks, crustaceans, and some other invertebrates.
In some mollusks, as the cuttlefish, the shell is concealed by the animal's outer mantle and is considered internal. Genuine mother-of-pearl buttons are made from sea shells.
Any mollusk having such a covering. ( by extension )
The ( entomology ) exoskeleton or wing covers of certain insects. The conjoined
scutes that constitute the "shell" ( carapace) of a tortoise or turtle. The overlapping hard plates comprising the armor covering the armadillo's body. The hard
calcareous covering of a bird egg. One of the outer layers of skin of an
The restaurant served caramelized onion shells.
The hard external covering of various ( botany ) plant seed forms.
The covering, or outside part, of a
The black walnut and the hickory nut, both of the same Genus as the pecan, have much thicker and harder shells than the pecan. A
pod containing the seeds of certain plants, such as the legume . Phaseolus vulgaris ( in the plural ) Husks of cacao seeds, a decoction of which is sometimes used as a substitute or adulterant for cocoa and its products such as chocolate.
The accreted mineral formed around a hollow ( geology ) geode.
The ( weaponry ) casing of a self-contained single-unit artillery projectile.
A ( weaponry ) hollow, usually spherical or cylindrical projectile fired from a siege mortar or a smoothbore cannon. It contains an explosive substance designed to be ignited by a fuse or by percussion at the target site so that it will burst and scatter at high velocity its contents and fragments. Formerly called a bomb.
The ( weaponry ) cartridge of a breechloading firearm; a load; a bullet; a round.
Any slight hollow structure; a ( architecture ) framework, or exterior structure, regarded as not complete or filled in, as the shell of a house. A garment, usually worn by women, such as a shirt,
blouse, or top, with short sleeves or no sleeves, that often fastens in the rear. A
coarse or flimsy coffin; a thin interior coffin enclosed within a more substantial one.
, Burke O'Farrell, 1877 Proud as Lucifer: A Novel: Upstairs in that chill darkened room which nobody passes who can help it , the old Baronet lies in his coffin shell - an awful form faintly defined beneath the sheet An unmarked vehicle for carrying corpses from a crime scene.
, Liam McIlvanney, 2022 The Heretic, page 23: Then they lifted the body into the bag, setting it down like something breakable, zipped the bag, wrapped the whole thing in polythene and carried the stretcher into the shell.
A string ( music ) instrument, as a lyre, whose acoustical chamber is formed like a shell.
The first lyre may have been made by drawing strings over the underside of a tortoise shell. , 1687 John Dryden, A Song for Cecilia's Day: when Jubal struck the chorded shell
The body of a drum; the often wooden, often ( music ) cylindrical acoustic chamber, with or without rims added for tuning and for attaching the drum head. An
engraved copper roller used in print works. The thin coating of copper on an
The watertight outer covering of the ( nautical ) hull of a vessel, often made with planking or metal plating.
The outer ( nautical , rigging ) frame or case of a block within which the sheaves revolve.
A light boat whose frame is covered with thin wood, impermeable fabric, or water-proofed paper; a racing shell or ( nautical ) dragon boat.
A set of ( chemistry ) atomic orbitals that have the same principal quantum number.
The outward form independent of what is inside. ( figuratively )
The empty outward form of someone or something.
( figuratively ) The setback left him a mere shell; he was never the same again. An
He's lost so much weight from illness; he's a shell of his former self. A psychological barrier to social interaction.
Even after months of therapy he's still in his shell.
An ( computing ) operating system software user interface, whose primary purpose is to launch other programs and control their interactions; the user's command interpreter. Shell is a way to separate the internal complexity of the implementation of the command from the user. The internals can change while the user experience/interface remains the same.
The name "Bash" is an acronym which stands for "Bourne-again shell", itself a pun on the name of the "Bourne shell", an earlier Unix shell designed by Stephen Bourne, and the Christian concept of being "born again".
A legal entity that has no operations.
( business ) A shell corporation was formed to acquire the old factory. A concave rough cast-iron tool in which a
convex lens is ground to shape.
A ( engineering ) gouge bit or shell bit.
The ( phonology ) onset and coda of a syllable. A person's ( UK , slang ) ear.
Synonym: shell-like Can I have a quick word in your shell?
Meronyms [ edit ]
Derived terms [ edit ]
Translations [ edit ]
hard calcareous or chitinous external covering of many invertebrates
guall (sq) f Arabic:
صَدَفَة (ar) f ( ṣadafa )
صدفة f ( ṣadafa ) Hijazi Arabic: صدفة f ( ṣadafa ) Armenian:
խեցի (hy) ( xecʿi ), պատյան (hy) ( patyan ) Azerbaijani:
qabıq (az) Bashkir:
ҡабырсаҡ ( qabırsaq ) Basque:
чарапа́шка f ( čarapáška ), ра́кавіна f ( rákavina ), па́нцыр m ( páncyr ) ( of an arthropod or a turtle ) Bengali:
খোল ( khōl ) Bulgarian:
черу́пка (bg) f ( čerúpka ), ра́ковина (bg) f ( rákovina ) Burmese:
အခွံ (my) ( a.hkwam ) Catalan:
closca (ca) , f conquilla (ca) , f conxa f Chinese:
Mandarin: 貝 ／ 贝 (zh) ( bèi ), 貝殼 ／ 贝壳 (zh) ( bèiké ) Cornish:
krogen f Czech:
ulita (cs) f ( of molluscs ), krunýř (cs) m ( of crustaceans ), mušle (cs) , f lastura (cs) f Danish:
skal (da) , c muslingeskal Dutch:
schelp (nl) f Esperanto:
koor , (et) karp (et) ( of a mollusc ), koda ( of a mollusc ), kilp ( of an arthropod or a turtle ) Faroese:
skel f Finnish:
kuori , (fi) kilpi , (fi) panssari (fi) ( from thinnest to thickest ) French:
coquille (fr) , f coquillage (fr) m Galician:
cuncha f Georgian:
ნიჟარა ( nižara ) German:
Schale (de) f Greek:
όστρακο (el) n ( óstrako )
Ancient: κόχλος m ( kókhlos ) Hawaiian:
, pūpū , pū ʻolē Hebrew:
קליפה (he) f ( klipá ) Hindi:
खोल (hi) f ( khol ), शैल (hi) m ( śail ), कौड़ी f ( kauṛī ) Hungarian:
kagyló , (hu) ház (hu) Icelandic:
skel (is) f Indonesian:
kerang (id) Irish:
sliogán (ga) m Italian:
conchiglia (it) f Japanese:
殻 (ja) ( から, kara ), 貝殻 (ja) ( かいがら, kaigara ) Kabuverdianu:
бақалшық ( baqalşyq ), қабыршақ ( qabyrşaq ), қабық (kk) ( qabyq ) Khmer:
ខ្យង (km) ( khyɑɑng ) Korean:
조가비 (ko) ( jogabi ), 조개 (ko) ( jogae ) Kyrgyz:
раковина (ky) ( rakovina ), кабык (ky) ( kabık ) Lao:
ກະດອງ ( ka dǭng ), ກາບຫອຍທະເລ (lo) ( kāp hǭi tha lē ) Latvian:
čaula f Lithuanian:
kriauklė f Luxembourgish:
Schuel f Macedonian:
черупка f ( čerupka ), школка f ( školka ) Malayalam:
തോട് (ml) ( tōṭŭ ) Manx:
bleayst f Maori:
, anga kota Mongolian:
Cyrillic: дун (mn) ( dun ) Navajo:
êcale f Northern Sami:
Bokmål: skjell m or f Old English:
sċiell f Ottoman Turkish:
بالق قولاغی ( balık kulağı ) ( of a mussel ) Pashto:
صدف (ps) m ( sadáf ) Persian:
صدف (fa) ( sadaf ), شنج (fa) ( šonj ) Polish:
skorupa (pl) f Portuguese:
concha (pt) f Quechua:
scoică (ro) , f cochilie (ro) f Russian:
ра́ковина (ru) f ( rákovina ) ( of a mollusc ), раку́шка (ru) f ( rakúška ), ра́кушка (ru) f ( rákuška ), па́нцирь (ru) m ( páncirʹ ) ( of an arthropod or a turtle ) Scottish Gaelic:
cochall m Serbo-Croatian:
шко̑љка f Roman: škȏljka (sh) f Slovak:
ulita , f pancier m ( of an arthropod or a turtle ), lastúra f Slovene:
školjka (sl) f ( of a mollusc ), oklep (sl) m ( of an athropod, turtle ) Spanish:
concha (es) f Swedish:
skal (sv) n Tajik:
садаф ( sadaf ) Tarifit:
ajɣur m Tatar:
кабырчык (tt) ( qabırçıq ) Thai:
กระดอง (th) ( grà-dɔɔng ), เปลือก (th) ( bplʉ̀ʉak ), เปลือกหอย ( bplʉ̀ʉak-hɔ̌i ) ( seashell ) Tocharian B:
, naitwe wrāko Turkish:
kabuk (tr) Turkmen:
черепа́шка f ( čerepáška ), ско́йка f ( skójka ), му́шля f ( múšlja ); па́нцер m ( páncer ), па́нцир m ( páncyr ) ( of an arthropod or a turtle ) Urdu:
شیل m ( śail ) Uyghur:
چىغىناق ( chighinaq ) Uzbek:
chigʻanoq (uz) Vietnamese:
vỏ (vi) Welsh:
cragen (cy) f Yámana: lakaš
hard covering of an egg
قِشْر (ar) ( qišr ), قِشْرَة f ( qišra ) Armenian:
կճեպ (hy) ( kčep ) Basque:
шкарлупі́на f ( škarlupína ), лушпі́на f ( lušpína ), шалупа́йка f ( šalupájka ), шкару́па f ( škarúpa ) Bulgarian:
черу́пка (bg) f ( čerúpka ) Catalan:
closca (ca) , f clovella (ca) f Chinese:
Mandarin: 蛋殼 ／ 蛋壳 (zh) ( dànké, dànke ), 殼 ／ 壳 (zh) ( ké ) Cornish:
plisken f Czech:
skořápka (cs) f Danish:
æggeskal (da) c Dutch:
schaal (nl) , f eierschaal (nl) f Egyptian: (
jnr ) m Esperanto:
munakoor (et) Finnish:
munankuori , (fi) kuori (fi) French:
coquille (fr) f Galician:
casca (gl) f Georgian:
ნაჭუჭი ( nač̣uč̣i ) German:
Schale (de) , f Eierschale (de) f Greek:
κέλυφος (el) n ( kélyfos )
Ancient: κέλυφος n ( kéluphos ) Hebrew:
קליפה (he) f ( klipá ) Hungarian:
héj , (hu) tojáshéj (hu) Indonesian:
cangkang (id) Italian:
guscio (it) m Japanese:
殻 (ja) ( から, kara ), ( biology ) 卵殻 (ja) ( らんかく, rankaku ) Khmer:
សំបក (km) ( sɑmbɑɑk ), កណាណូ ( kɑɑnaanou ) Korean:
껍질 (ko) ( kkeopjil ), 난각(卵殼) ( nan'gak ), 란각(卵殼) ( ran'gak ) ( North Korea ) Ladino:
putāmen n Luxembourgish:
Schuel f Macedonian:
черупка f ( čerupka ) Malayalam:
തോട് (ml) ( tōṭŭ ) Manx:
bleayst f Maori:
please add this translation if you can Norman:
cruque f Norwegian:
Bokmål: eggeskall , n skall (no) n Persian:
پوسته (fa) ( puste ) Polish:
skorupka (pl) f Portuguese:
casca (pt) f Romanian:
coajă (ro) f Russian:
скорлупа́ (ru) f ( skorlupá ) Serbo-Croatian:
ljuska (sh) f Slovak:
škrupina f Slovene:
lupina f Somali:
qolof (so) Spanish:
cáscara (es) f Swedish:
äggskal (sv) , n skal (sv) n Thai:
เปลือก (th) ( bplʉ̀ʉak ) Turkish:
kabuk (tr) Ukrainian:
шкаралу́па f ( škaralúpa ), шкаралу́пина f ( škaralúpyna ), лушпи́на f ( lušpýna ), лушпа́йка f ( lušpájka ) Vietnamese:
vỏ , (vi) vỏ trứng Welsh: masgl , f plisgyn m
entomology: exoskeleton of certain insects
conjoined scutes that comprise the "shell" of a tortoise or turtle
صَدَفة (ar) f ( ṣadafa ), بَيْت (ar) m ( bayt ) Armenian:
պատյան (hy) ( patyan ) Basque:
please add this translation if you can Belarusian:
па́нцыр m ( páncyr ) Bulgarian:
бро́ня (bg) f ( brónja ) Catalan:
closca (ca) f Chinese:
Mandarin: 甲殼 ／ 甲壳 (zh) ( jiǎké, jiǎqiào ), 甲 (zh) ( jiǎ ) Czech:
krunýř (cs) m Danish:
skjold n Esperanto:
please add this translation if you can Finnish:
kilpi (fi) French:
carapace (fr) f Georgian:
please add this translation if you can Hungarian:
teknő (hu) Indonesian:
tempurung (id) Italian:
carapace (it) m Japanese:
甲羅 (ja) ( こうら, kōra ), 甲 (ja) ( こう, kō ) Khmer:
ស្នូក (km) ( snouk ), ស្នូកអណ្ដើក ( snook ɑndaǝk ) Korean:
갑각(甲殼) ( gapgak ), 갑(甲) (ko) ( gap ) Lao:
ກະດອງ ( ka dǭng ) Malayalam:
തോട് (ml) ( tōṭŭ ) Mongolian:
please add this translation if you can Persian:
لاک (fa) ( lâk ) Polish:
skorupa (pl) f Portuguese:
carapaça (pt) , f casco (pt) m Romanian:
carapace (ro) f Russian:
па́нцирь (ru) m ( páncirʹ ) Slovene:
oklep (sl) m Spanish:
caparazón (es) m Swedish:
skal (sv) n Thai:
กระดอง (th) ( grà-dɔɔng ) Ukrainian:
па́нцер m ( páncer ), па́нцир m ( páncyr ) Vietnamese: mai , (vi) mu (vi)
overlapping hard plates comprising the armor covering armadillo's body
accreted mineral formed around a hollow geode
casing of an artillery projectile
hollow usually spherical or cylindrical projectile fired from a mortar or a cannon
cartridge of a breechloading firearm
any hollow structure; framework, or exterior structure
garment with short or no sleeves that often fastens in the rear
music: string instrument, whose acoustical chamber is formed like a shell
engraved copper roller used in print works
nautical: outer covering of the hull
nautical, rigging: outer frame or case of a block within which the sheaves revolve
nautical: light boat the frame of which is covered with thin material
computing: general-purpose environment
chemistry: set of atomic orbitals that have the same principal quantum number
business: legal entity that has no operations
Translations to be checked: "hard outside covering, as of a fruit or an animal"
Translations to be checked
shell ( third-person singular simple present , shells present participle , shelling simple past and past participle ) shelled
To remove the outer covering or shell of something.
bombard, to fire projectiles at, especially with artillery.
The guns shelled the enemy trenches. February, 1899 Joseph Conrad, “ The Heart of Darkness”, in , volume CLXV, number M, New York, N.Y.: The Leonard Scott Publishing Company, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine [ … ] , , part I, →OCLC page : 203 There wasn’t even a shed there, and she was shelling the bush.
To disburse or give up ( informal ) money, to pay. (Often used with ). out
To ( intransitive ) fall off, as a shell, crust, etc.
To ( intransitive ) cast the shell, or exterior covering; to fall out of the pod or husk.
Nuts shell in falling. Wheat or rye shells in reaping.
To switch to a shell or ( computing , intransitive ) command line.
, Robin Nixon, 1993 The PC Companion, page 115: Automenu is a good program to try, and offers a fair amount of protection - but, unfortunately, it's one of those systems that allow users to shell to DOS. To form shallow, irregular cracks (in a coating).
To form a ( topology ) shelling.
Derived terms [ edit ]
Translations [ edit ]
to remove the outer covering or shell of something
обе́лвам (bg) impf ( obélvam ) Chinese:
剝 ／ 剥 ( mok 1 ) Mandarin: 剝 ／ 剥 (zh) ( bāo, bō ), 去殼 ／ 去壳 (zh) ( qùké ) Dutch:
( fruit ) schillen , (nl) ( nut ) kraken , (nl) ( fruit or crustacean ) pellen , (nl) ( pea ) doppen (nl) Finnish:
kuoria (fi) French:
décortiquer , (fr) écosser (fr) Galician:
, cascar , descascar debullar , (gl) , debagar , degraer degrañar (gl) Italian:
sgranare , (it) sgusciare (it) Japanese:
剥く (ja) ( むく, muku ) Maori:
, kōwhā , miri , kōhā kōwhiti ( of shellfish ) Portuguese:
descascar (pt) Quechua:
descascarar (nut), (es) desvainar (pea) (es) Swedish: skala (sv)
to bombard, to fire projectiles at
— see bomb
informal: to disburse or give up money, to pay
to fall off, as a shell, crust, etc.
to cast the shell, or exterior covering
Further reading [ edit ]
shell”, in , Springfield, Mass.: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary G. & C. Merriam, 1913, . →OCLC “
shell”, in , New York, N.Y.: The Century Dictionary [ … ] The Century Co., 1911, . →OCLC Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “
shell”, in . Online Etymology Dictionary on Wikimedia Commons. shell Wikimedia Commons
Anagrams [ edit ]
Alternative forms [ edit ]
Etymology [ edit ]
Middle English , from schal Old English .
References [ edit ]
Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, page 67