Main definitions of shelve in English

: shelve1shelve2

shelve1

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Place or arrange (items, especially books) on a shelf.

    ‘we had catalogued and shelved all the books shipped in that day’
    • ‘An amnesiac mind is a bookstore whose books are shelved spine-in, so we cannot read the titles.’
    • ‘My back still ached from shelving hundreds of books in the school library.’
    • ‘I've already shelved this book for several years, and have no desire to do it again.’
    • ‘This past winter I was at work, happily shelving a cartful of books, when I looked up and saw, right in front of me, a nun, dressed in full-on nun apparel.’
    • ‘My books are shelved according to where I expect them to be, and by serendipity.’
    • ‘She looked at his blushing form next to a stack of books to be shelved.’
    • ‘I probably would have just thumbed through the pages, looked up the price, and placed it with a pile of other books waiting their turn to be shelved.’
    • ‘I have a vague memory of the books being shelved under ‘C’ in the library when I were a lass.’
    • ‘I was too busy watching Daisy shelve new books for the librarian.’
    • ‘She let me spend hours helping her shelve and catalog books.’
    • ‘Like I would plunk down my quarters, hard earned by shelving half a million books every day at the Great Neck Public Library, to help a frog cross a highway.’
    • ‘English-language books of aphorisms are most likely to be shelved in the ‘personal growth’ section, offering comforting and uplifting thoughts to help us through the day.’
    • ‘I shelve my own books by colour, and like with jellybeans, the black ones are mighty unappetising.’
    • ‘One of the elderly librarians, who was shelving books nearby, scowled at us.’
    • ‘I have shelved the book once more in anger and it will remain until the next time I forget the cold harsh reality of cook books and their evil ways.’
    • ‘As it is I have to spend a whole five minutes deprograming them (with a little help from the reality of the situation) and quite frankly I could shelve a load of books in that time.’
    • ‘The book will thus prove useful even in libraries that already shelve the original sources in which the essays first appeared.’
    • ‘There are times when the book should be shelved and left at the library.’
    • ‘It is unfortunate that this book is shelved in the biology section of the bookstore instead of in self-help where it would get the attention it deserves.’
    • ‘Lee started shelving the books in the box, noting that she had read a few of them herself.’
  • 2Decide not to proceed with (a project or plan), either temporarily or permanently.

    ‘plans to reopen the school have been shelved’
    • ‘The water authority has temporarily shelved the plans because of local hostility.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, the Wing Commander's plans for a large experimental military pigeon loft with 400 birds to test his idea were shelved after arguments over who should pay.’
    • ‘After selling a script to Miramax, he spent a year developing it before they decided to shelve the project.’
    • ‘There is already a deal in place at Bravo for a new TV series, Project Red, which deals exclusively with films that are either shelved or stopped before production.’
    • ‘As expected, Straw has shelved the referendum, but will there be a price to pay?’
    • ‘News that a gambling overhaul could be shelved should prompt Blackpool Council to seek new family attractions for key sites, casino opponents claimed this week.’
    • ‘The author refused to compromise and subsequently the book remained shelved.’
    • ‘But the plans were shelved and the project deemed ‘too ambitious’.’
    • ‘After Deputy Power made his promise, the Government decided to shelve its plans for decentralisation until after the general election.’
    • ‘But talks with the credit - card supplier have ended after the bank decided to shelve plans to open a large customer contact centre in Europe.’
    • ‘But, in July, the Government announced it was shelving referenda in Yorkshire & the Humber and the North West.’
    • ‘The plan was temporarily shelved due to capital starvation and a shortage of technology, as well as a lack of talent to carry out the project.’
    • ‘As if to prove his point, the publishing empire tried to censor, then shelve, the book.’
    • ‘The chiefs have decided to shelve this plan so a decision on the future of emergency services can be taken as part of the strategic review of hospital services across the trust.’
    • ‘The council had decided to temporarily shelve the proposal to standardise the sales illustrations of life insurers.’
    • ‘But councillors decided to shelve the plans after protesters claimed the 50 pence-an-hour charge would deter people from using the parks.’
    • ‘A previous plan to increase the size of the dump in 1994 was shelved and an expansion moratorium was placed the following year.’
    • ‘The government temporarily shelved its plans earlier this year because of strong opposition by employees.’
    • ‘As a result, the council has decided to shelve plans for the e-voting trial in case it caused any disruption.’
    • ‘Fears of a major traffic snarl-up has prompted council chiefs to shelve work on a new cycle route at Sadlers Farm during peak hours.’
    put to one side, lay aside, pigeonhole, stay, stand over, keep in abeyance, suspend, mothball
    View synonyms
  • 3Fit with shelves.

    ‘one whole long wall was shelved’
    • ‘The walls were shelved all the way down, with the exception of the bathroom door.’

Origin

Late 16th century (in the sense ‘project like a shelf’ (Shakespearean usage)): from shelves, plural of shelf.

Pronunciation

shelve

/ʃɛlv/

Main definitions of shelve in English

: shelve1shelve2

shelve2

verb

  • no object, with adverbial (of ground) slope downwards in a specified manner or direction.

    ‘the ground shelved gently down to the water’
    • ‘If the coastline shelves steeply, then the tsunami would be more devastating as this creates a bigger wave.’
    • ‘Go through and out the other end to where the bottom shelves up steeply into the kelp zone.’
    • ‘From where I stood, the beach shelved steeply into a channel, perhaps chest deep and a long fly cast in width to the edge of the coral, where it rose to no more than my thigh.’
    • ‘Under water, the shingle beach shelves down to rows of small rocks and kelp beneath the low-water mark.’
    • ‘Less than 5m out from the shore, a mud bank shelves off steeply into the depths, passing through a thick halocline layer in the shallows.’
    • ‘Three sides of the feature shelved gently as the waves pushed the shingle towards the shore.’
    • ‘The bottom shelved gently down from the margins and levelled out at 10 feet depth just at the point where the reeds ended.’
    • ‘White sands shelve steeply down into clear blue-green water.’
    slope, tilt, incline, be at an angle, angle, tip, cant, be askew, skew, lean, dip, pitch, list, bank, heel
    View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: origin uncertain; perhaps from shelf.

Pronunciation

shelve

/ʃɛlv/