Definition of shovel in US English:

shovel

nounPlural shovels

  • 1A tool with a broad flat blade and typically upturned sides, used for moving coal, earth, snow or other material.

    • ‘Grace selected two lilacs and placed them on the fresh mound of dirt before picking up her shovel and moving on to dig the next grave.’
    • ‘We will find work for you all, and please if you can bring a spade or shovel, brush or knife to work with.’
    • ‘An electric bench grinder is the most efficient way to recover the cutting edges on shovels, spades, hoes, and lawn mower blades.’
    • ‘After propping the shovel against the side of the building, I stamped the snow off my shoes and stepped into the warmth of the office, closing the door against the cold.’
    • ‘Digging tools like rakes, shovels, pitch forks and spade are some of the basic tools used by professional gardeners as well as beginners.’
    • ‘The shovel's blade carved a little trail in the snow and he tried to step only in that trail, not sure why it mattered but anxious not to stray outside the parallel lines.’
    • ‘We've traded in our snow shovels for kayaks and intend to make the most of our new home.’
    • ‘He comes over the snow with a shovel and an old dog and scoops up a heap of bare soil left by the moles at night.’
    • ‘Individuals don't know where their ice scrapers, snow shovels, winter boots and hats are.’
    • ‘Make sure you have snowmelt and a snow shovel on hand.’
    • ‘Sharpen hoes, spades, shovels etc. with an angle grinder on a new file.’
    • ‘Hand tools such as spades, shovels, sickles etc, which currently attract a 16 per cent excise duty will also be fully exempt.’
    • ‘All rescuers and volunteers had to use were shovels, picks and spades.’
    • ‘A good man to handle a shovel or spade, Eddie went quietly about his business, a gentleman throughout his life.’
    • ‘You might ask similar questions about the Super Bowl, restaurants, and why snow shovels don't cost more when there is a blizzard.’
    • ‘Much of the work is done manually using basic tools like hammers, shovels, axes and mammoties, a spade-like implement common throughout Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘Time to put your rakes away and get your snow shovels ready!’
    • ‘There were picks, shovels, knives, swords and axes.’
    • ‘To give relief to farmers, he announced a series of measures including total exemption from excise duty on tractors, dairy machinery and hand tools like spades and shovels.’
    • ‘‘We can sell you snow shovels in Minnesota while we're selling you raincoats in Tampa and suntan lotion in Hawaii,’ Nooney says.’
    spade, scoop
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A machine or part of a machine having a shape or function similar to that of a shovel.
      • ‘On any construction site you see hydraulically-operated machinery in the form of bulldozers, backhoes, shovels, loaders, fork lifts and cranes.’
      • ‘Carefully watching the soil flowing around the front cultivator shovels and crop plants helps the operator to keep the shovels adjusted precisely where they need to be.’
      • ‘If you are mining by open pit, your haul trucks and shovels will be diesel or electric.’
      • ‘Two workmen and a mechanical shovel would sort out the whole sorry mess in one weekend at a tiny fraction of the stupid price they are talking about for a bridge.’
      • ‘A mechanical shovel was used to load lorries resulting in the decimation of the surface.’
      • ‘The JCBs on offer have large shovels on hydraulic arms, and you operate them from within a perspex cabin atop a pair of tank-style tracks.’
    2. 1.2 An amount of something carried or moved with a shovel.
      ‘a few shovels of earth’
      • ‘This mixture may mean 32 shovels of sand for one person and 28 shovels for another.’
      • ‘They are out with shovels of gravel and buckets of tar when major repair work is necessary.’
      • ‘To this day, the Government has not moved a shovel at the proposed site.’
      • ‘Adding a few shovels of soil will also help get the pile off to a good start; soil adds commonly found decomposing organisms.’
      • ‘I mixed one shovel of Portland cement to five shovels of sand, filled the whole area with this mix, tamped it, and then sprinkled it with water.’
      • ‘Everyone was tense as shovels of dirt were tossed into the air.’
      • ‘Labor fatigue is reduced because of the low loading height, and employees do not have to count shovels of sand and guess whether the ratio is correct because the hopper is a consistent measurement.’

verbshovels, shovelled, shovelling, shoveled, shoveling

  • 1with object and adverbial Move (coal, earth, snow, or a similar substance) with a shovel.

    ‘she shoveled coal on the fire’
    • ‘Bending over, she shoveled ashes over the coals, smothering all light.’
    • ‘Since he cannot shovel snow because of his heart condition she ‘struggles to do this’.’
    • ‘Firemen shovel coal on to the fire in the cab and make sure there is enough water in the boiler, while also watching out for any track obstructions.’
    • ‘It was Christmas Eve and Joey was supposed to be shoveling the snow.’
    • ‘Every now and then the two firemen would shovel coal in to the boilers.’
    • ‘I told him to stop shoveling the snow off until I told him when they could continue.’
    • ‘Both are better off if the child next door shovels the snow.’
    • ‘I stood outside my small office on the corner of Union and Crescent Streets, shoveling the snow off the walkway.’
    • ‘He survived the Bataan Death March and was forced to spend over two years shovelling coal in a mine operated by a Japanese firm.’
    • ‘In his 1911 book, The Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor had written about Schmidt, whose job was to shovel coal.’
    • ‘I would have shoveled snow for an hour if I had had to.’
    • ‘Amelie's father, Jean-Francois and mother, Dominique shovelled earth around the base of the young tree, watched by her sister, Virginie.’
    • ‘Once the first few inches of ice formed, men were put on the ice to shovel any snow that fell.’
    • ‘I looked down to the ground and saw Henry shoveling some snow.’
    • ‘Have your kids help shovel the snow off the driveway and use that excess snow to build a huge snow fort.’
    • ‘She went out and helped the boys shovel snow out of the drive and part of the street.’
    • ‘I hurried to the graveyard at the edge of town, where I found Tortola's uncle shoveling damp earth over her coffin.’
    • ‘As soon as they were up we shoveled snow over the flaps, placed rocks on top, and then one person crawled inside to get the cooking gear set up.’
    • ‘Marcus opened up a bin of coal and began to shovel the black substance into the top of the blast furnace.’
    • ‘In 1802 the City leaders ordered the levelling of the adjacent Bunker Hill, shovelling the earth and rocks into the pond.’
    scoop, scoop up, spade, dig, excavate, move, shift, heap, spoon, ladle, toss
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Remove snow from (an area) with a shovel.
      ‘I'll clean the basement and shovel the walk’
      • ‘At five Christine got up to go out and shovel the walk.’
      • ‘I shoveled the back sidewalk while he stood in the snow, peering at me through half-lowered lids.’
      • ‘The only sounds I heard were the neighbors shoveling their walks and the spinning of tires trying to make it up the 30th Street hill.’
      • ‘In the winter you worked shoveling sidewalks and setting up pins in the bowling alley.’
      • ‘I had started walking dogs for a dollar, cleaning off snow from cars and shoveling sidewalks for a price that I bartered with individuals.’
      • ‘I pay the kid down the street $2 to shovel my walk, and his mother thinks it builds character.’
      • ‘Canmore town council approved first and second readings for a bylaw that will require Canmorites to shovel their sidewalks within 48 hours of snow falling.’
      • ‘Besides, we're going to be trapped inside or shoveling snow the next couple days.’
      • ‘Mark and I managed to shovel the walk and kick a pile of leaves that Wendy had piled up so our work is done.’
      • ‘After shoveling off my front walk, stairs and the area in front of my garage yesterday, we are to get another 6 inches of snow.’
      • ‘As I suspected, he's doing a ridiculously thorough job - not just shoveling the places people walk but almost every inch of space between the front edge of the house and the curb.’
      • ‘The living room is quieter now that Jem Van Doren's next door neighbor has stopped shoveling the sidewalk.’
      • ‘Normally on winter trips, I'd shovel out a small kitchen area, light up the stove, cook dinner and retire to my bag with a hot drink, all within an hour or so.’
      • ‘Thanks a ton, but a five-day forecast doesn't shovel the walk.’
      • ‘The city's snow - clearing trucks were slow off the mark, leaving angry shopkeepers to shovel their pavements.’
      • ‘I like how all the grandmas from within flirt with me when I shovel the sidewalk.’
      • ‘Then I shoveled all the toys into the center of the room.’
      • ‘As for Vikings fans, well, don't they have a bunch of snow to shovel or something?’
      • ‘I understand that you think you're doing the right thing when you shovel the sidewalks outside your houses.’
      • ‘There's a little over a foot on the ground now, and we'll soon be heading out to my aunt's house to shovel her sidewalk and walkway!’
    2. 1.2informal Put or push (something, typically food) somewhere quickly and in large quantities.
      ‘Dave was shoveling pasta into his mouth’
      • ‘He sat down, opened it up and began shoveling the food in greedily.’
      • ‘Skye got very annoyed very quickly, and shoveled her food in her mouth as fast as she could with her fork.’
      • ‘Apparently I'm a bad enough singer that it makes her laugh, and when she opens her mouth to laugh, I can shovel food in.’
      • ‘I watched in horror as children and adults alike shoveled food into their mouths without a second thought.’
      • ‘You hate him instantly in his first scene, as he shovels food into his mouth while barking orders to his staff.’
      • ‘Jilli left it at that and placed the eggs in front of her husband, sitting down next to him and shovelling the food into her mouth.’
      • ‘‘It's about time,’ cried Adam impatiently, snatching his plate and shoveling food into his mouth.’
      • ‘Ren muttered, quickly beginning to shovel his food into his mouth.’
      • ‘Jon shoveled pasta salad into his mouth to emphasise his point.’
      • ‘She lapped up her food happily and I turned back to my plate and started shoveling food in my mouth.’
      • ‘Lila only glared and shoveled some food in her mouth.’
      • ‘Larkin began shoveling food on his plate, seeming to favor the pears.’
      • ‘She shoveled food onto her plate, inhaling the scents of chicken and ribs happily, then piling vegetables on twice as unhappily.’
      • ‘The second I told him to eat, he threw himself into a chair and began shoveling the food into his mouth.’
      • ‘He shoveled the food onto his plate roughly, as if he hadn't eaten in days.’
      • ‘He silently shovelled food onto his plate and started eating.’
      • ‘Five minutes later they were sitting down at the table wrapped in towels and shoveling food in their mouths.’
      • ‘I had to grin, she looked kind of cute with red cheeks, shoveling food in her mouth while hugging herself and desperately trying to avoid my gaze.’
      • ‘He regretfully stopped shoveling food onto his plate, and only ate half of what he put on there.’
      • ‘After getting his serving of food he started shoveling the food into his mouth.’
      eat up, finish, consume, devour, eat greedily, guzzle, feast on, binge-eat, wolf down, down, bolt
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English scofl, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schoffel, German Schaufel, also to the verb shove.

Pronunciation

shovel

/ˈʃəvəl//ˈSHəvəl/