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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are times when the book should be shelved and left at the library.’
    • ‘She let me spend hours helping her shelve and catalog books.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An amnesiac mind is a bookstore whose books are shelved spine-in, so we cannot read the titles.’
    • ‘My books are shelved according to where I expect them to be, and by serendipity.’
    • ‘My back still ached from shelving hundreds of books in the school library.’
    • ‘Lee started shelving the books in the box, noting that she had read a few of them herself.’
    • ‘I've already shelved this book for several years, and have no desire to do it again.’
    • ‘I was too busy watching Daisy shelve new books for the librarian.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I have a vague memory of the books being shelved under ‘C’ in the library when I were a lass.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The book will thus prove useful even in libraries that already shelve the original sources in which the essays first appeared.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She looked at his blushing form next to a stack of books to be shelved.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2Decide not to proceed with (a project or plan), either temporarily or permanently:

    ‘plans to reopen the school have been shelved’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 Deputy Power made his promise, the Government decided to shelve its plans for decentralisation until after the general election.’
    • ‘As expected, Straw has shelved the referendum, but will there be a price to pay?’
    • ‘As if to prove his point, the publishing empire tried to censor, then shelve, the book.’
    • ‘The council had decided to temporarily shelve the proposal to standardise the sales illustrations of life insurers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The author refused to compromise and subsequently the book remained shelved.’
    • ‘A previous plan to increase the size of the dump in 1994 was shelved and an expansion moratorium was placed the following year.’
    • ‘The water authority has temporarily shelved the plans because of local hostility.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But the plans were shelved and the project deemed ‘too ambitious’.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After selling a script to Miramax, he spent a year developing it before they decided to shelve the project.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But councillors decided to shelve the plans after protesters claimed the 50 pence-an-hour charge would deter people from using the parks.’
    put to one side, lay aside, pigeonhole, stay, stand over, keep in abeyance, suspend, mothball
    postpone, put off, delay, defer, put back, hold off, hold over, carry over, reschedule, do later, adjourn
    put off the evil day, put off the evil hour
    abandon, drop, abolish, withdraw, throw out, do away with, give up, take away, stop, put an end to, cancel, eliminate, cut, jettison
    put over, table, lay on the table, take a rain check on
    continue
    put on ice, put on the back burner, put in cold storage, axe, ditch, dump, junk, chuck in
    remit, respite
    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]
  • (of ground) slope downwards in a specified manner or direction:

    ‘the ground shelved gently down to the water’
    • ‘White sands shelve steeply down into clear blue-green water.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If the coastline shelves steeply, then the tsunami would be more devastating as this creates a bigger wave.’
    • ‘Under water, the shingle beach shelves down to rows of small rocks and kelp beneath the low-water mark.’
    • ‘The bottom shelved gently down from the margins and levelled out at 10 feet depth just at the point where the reeds ended.’
    • ‘Three sides of the feature shelved gently as the waves pushed the shingle towards the shore.’
    • ‘Go through and out the other end to where the bottom shelves up steeply into the kelp zone.’
    • ‘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.’
    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/