Definition of shelf noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    shelf

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//ʃɛlf//
     
    (pl. shelves
    NAmE//ʃɛlvz//
     
    )
     
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  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
     
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    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)
     
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    not wanted by anyone; not used
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: shelf