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A New York City Subway train being shunted (verb sense 5) from one track to another
A shunt (noun sense 5) or minor traffic accident between a bus and a van in Plymouth in Devon, England, UK
An illustration of a cerebral shunt (noun sense 6) used to treat hydrocephalus. The shunt, shown by a black line, drains excess cerebrospinal fluid from the brain’s ventricles into the peritoneal cavity.

From Middle English shunten, schunten, schonten, schounten, shont, shonte, shount, shounten, shunte (to move rapidly or suddenly, jerk; to swerve, turn away; to avoid, dodge, escape, evade),[1] either:

The English word is cognate with Danish skynde (to hasten, hurry, speed), Icelandic skynda, skunda (to hasten), Middle High German schünden (to compel; to urge; to irritate), Norwegian skynde (to hurry, rush), Swedish skynda (to hasten, hurry; to scuttle, scurry). Outside Germanic, compare Albanian shkund (to shake; to swig).

As regards the noun sense, compare Middle English shunt (swerve; sudden jerk), derived from the verb.[3]



shunt (third-person singular simple present shunts, present participle shunting, simple past and past participle shunted)

  1. (transitive) To cause to move (suddenly), as by pushing or shoving; to give a (sudden) start to.
    Synonym: shove
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ash to this entry?)
  2. (transitive) To divert to a less important place, position, or state.
  3. (transitive) To provide with a shunt.
    to shunt a galvanometer
  4. (transitive, computing) To move data in memory to a physical disk.
  5. (transitive, electricity) To divert electric current by providing an alternative path.
  6. (transitive, rail transport) To move a train from one track to another, or to move carriages, etc. from one train to another.
  7. (transitive, chiefly road transport, informal, Britain) To have a minor collision, especially in a motor car.
  8. (transitive, surgery) To divert the flow of a body fluid.
  9. (transitive, obsolete, Britain, dialectal) To turn aside or away; to divert.

Derived terms[edit]



shunt (plural shunts)

  1. An act of moving (suddenly), as due to a push or shove.
  2. (electricity) A connection used as an alternative path between parts of an electrical circuit.
  3. (firearms) The shifting of the studs on a projectile from the deep to the shallow sides of the grooves in its discharge from a shunt gun.
  4. (rail transport) A switch on a railway used to move a train from one track to another.
  5. (chiefly road transport, informal, Britain) A minor collision between vehicles.
  6. (surgery) A passage between body channels constructed surgically as a bypass.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ shunten, v.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 5 July 2018.
  2. ^ shǒnen, v.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 5 July 2018.
  3. ^ shunt, n.” in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 5 July 2018.

Further reading[edit]