Definition of shelf noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ʃelf//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʃelf//
    (pl. shelves
    BrE BrE//ʃelvz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʃelvz//
    Furniture, In the store
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  1. 1  a 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 CollocationsDecorating and home improvementHouses refurbish/​renovate/ (British English) do up a building/​a house convert a building/​house/​room into homes/​offices/(especially North American English) apartments/(British English) flats extend/​enlarge a house/​building/​room/​kitchen build (British English) an extension (to the back/​rear of a house)/(North American English) an addition (on/​to something)/(British English) a conservatory knock down/​demolish a house/​home/​building/​wall knock out/​through the wall separating two roomsDecoration furnish/​paint/ (especially British English) decorate a home/​house/​apartment/​flat/​room be decorated in bright colours/(especially US English) colors/​in a traditional style/​with flowers/​with paintings paint/​plaster the walls/​ceiling hang/​put up/​strip off/​remove the wallpaper install/​replace/​remove the bathroom fixtures/(British English) fittings build/​put up shelves lay wooden flooring/​timber decking/​floor tiles/​a carpet/​a patio put up/​hang/​take down a picture/​painting/​poster/​curtainDIY/​home improvement do (British English) DIY/​carpentry/​the plumbing/​the wiring make home improvements add/​install central heating/​underfloor heating/​insulation fit/​install double-glazing/​a smoke alarm insulate your house/​your home/​the walls/​the pipes/​the tanks/(especially British English) the loft fix/​repair a roof/​a leak/​a pipe/​the plumbing/​a leaking (especially British English) tap/(usually North American English) faucet block/​clog (up)/unblock/​unclog a pipe/​sink make/​drill/​fill a hole hammer (in)/pull out/​remove a nail tighten/​untighten/​loosen/​remove a screw saw/​cut/​treat/​stain/​varnish/​paint wood CollocationsShoppingShopping go/​go out/​be out shopping go to (especially British English) the shops/(especially North American English) a store/(especially North American English) the mall do (British English) the shopping/(especially North American English) the grocery shopping/​a bit of window-shopping (North American English, informal) hit/​hang out at the mall try on clothes/​shoes indulge in some retail therapy go on a spending spree cut/​cut back on/​reduce your spending be/​get caught shoplifting donate something to/​take something to/​find something in (British English) a charity shop/(North American English) a thrift store buy/​sell/​find something at (British English) a car boot sale/(British English) a jumble sale/​a garage sale/(North American English) a yard sale find/​get/​pick up a bargainAt the shop/​store load/​push/​wheel (British English) a trolley/(North American English) a cart stand in/​wait in (British English) the checkout queue/(North American English) the checkout line (North American English) stand in line/ (British English) queue at the checkout bag (especially North American English) (your) groceries pack (away) (especially British English) your shopping stack/​stock/​restock the shelves at a store (with something) be (found) on/​appear on supermarket/​shop/​store shelves be in/​have in/​be out of/​run out of stock deal with/​help/​serve customers run a special promotion be on special offerBuying goods make/​complete a purchase buy/​purchase something online/​by mail order make/​place/​take an order for something buy/​order something in bulk/​in advance accept/​take credit cards pay (in) cash/​by (credit/​debit) card/(British English) with a gift voucher/(North American English) with a gift certificate enter your PIN number ask for/​get/​obtain a receipt return/​exchange an item/​a product be entitled to/​ask for/​demand a refund compare prices offer (somebody)/give (somebody)/get/​receive a 30% discount See related entries: Furniture, In the store
  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 sea the continental shelf
  3. see also shelve
    Word OriginMiddle English: from Middle Low German schelf; related to Old English scylfe ‘partition’, scylf ‘crag’.Extra examples He took a book down from the top shelf. He’s got a job stocking shelves in a supermarket. Her diaries just sat on the shelf for years. Hundreds of books lined the shelves. I can’t reach the top shelf. I knocked it off the shelf by accident. I put the box back on the shelf. I’ve cleared a shelf in the bedroom for you. She reached for the shelf next to the bed. She scanned the shelves of the library for new books. She soon learned how to put up her own shelves. Shelves lined the walls behind the long counter. Souvenirs filled the shelves. The DVD is flying off the shelves. The book deserves a place on everyone’s shelves. The cabinet has three shelves. The fridge had three shelves. The medicine has a shelf life of six months. The shelves were packed with dolls of every shape and size. The supermarket immediately removed the product from its shelves. The supermarket shelves were bare. The walls of her study were lined with shelves. Their new CD hits the shelves in May. a shelf of books on economicsIdioms 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 off the peg See related entries: The fashion world
      on the shelf (informal)
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    1. 1not wanted by anyone; not used
    2. 2(old-fashioned) (especially of women) considered to be too old to get married
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: shelf