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See also: Shelve



Back-formation from shelves.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ʃɛlv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛlv


shelve (third-person singular simple present shelves, present participle shelving, simple past and past participle shelved)

  1. (transitive) To place on a shelf.
    The library needs volunteers to help shelve books.
  2. (transitive) To set aside; to quit or postpone.
    They shelved the entire project when they heard how much it would cost.
    • 1961 October, “Motive Power Miscellany: Scottish Region”, in Trains Illustrated, page 636:
      The arrival of the new Birmingham units on the West Highland line suggests that a scheme to use 16 of the next batch of English Electric Type 4s previously allotted to the Scottish Region, Nos. D357-D384, on the West Highland and Callander-Oban lines has been shelved.
    • 2005, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, David Kessler, On Grief and Grieving, →ISBN, page 102:
      When we shelve our pain, it doesn't go away. Rather, it festers in a myriad of ways.
  3. To furnish with shelves.
    to shelve a closet or a library
  4. (slang) To take (drugs) by anal or vaginal insertion.
    • 2002 June 4, Anthony Hodges, “Drugs seized by Customs (WARNING)”, in alt.anagrams (Usenet):
      I love shelving ecstasy!
    • 2011 June 19, “School daze”, in The New Zealand Herald:
      I had a funny conversation with my dad last night about shelving. It's when you shelve a pill up your bum. It was a lovely dinner conversation.
    • 2013, Edward J. Benavidez, Getting High: The Effects of Drugs, →ISBN, page 65:
      Some people use Ecstasy using a method known as “shafting” or “shelving” which involves inserting a pill or tablet into the anus.
    • 2016, John B. Saunders, Noeline C. Latt, & E. Jane Marshall, Addiction Medicine, →ISBN, page 44:
      Occasionally, they are taken anally ('shelving').
  5. (Wales, slang) To have sex with.
  6. (intransitive) To slope; to incline; to form into shelves.
    • 1958, Anthony Burgess, The Enemy in the Blanket (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 372:
      The sand shelved gently here. Only at waist-level did the sudden dips occur, and then an upward-sloping hill would lead to a sand-bar, to a new shore islanded in the sea.




shelve (plural shelves)

  1. A rocky ledge or shelf.
    • 1819, Lord Byron, Don Juan, II.181:
      And all was stillness, save the sea-bird's cry, / And dolphin's leap, and little billow crossed / By some low rock or shelve, that made it fret / Against the boundary it scarcely wet.