American English

Definition of shelf noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (pl. shelves
    jump to other results
  1. 1a flat board made of wood, metal, glass, etc., fixed to the wall or forming part of a cupboard, closet, bookcase, etc., for things to be placed on I helped him put up some shelves in his bedroom. The book I wanted was on the top shelf. supermarket/library shelves empty shelves
  2. 2(geology) a thing shaped like a shelf, especially a piece of rock sticking out from a cliff or from the edge of a mass of land under the ocean the continental shelf see also shelve
  3. Idioms
    off the shelf
    jump to other results
    that can be bought immediately and does not have to be specially designed or ordered I bought this package off the shelf. off-the-shelf software packages Some courses can be bought off the shelf as self-contained study packages. compare rack
    on the shelf (informal)
    jump to other results
    not wanted by anyone; not used
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: shelf