Shelf (?), n.; pl. Shelves (#). [OE. shelfe, schelfe, AS. scylfe; akin to G. schelfe, Icel. skjalf. In senses 2 & 3, perhaps a different word (cf. Shelve, v. i.).]

1. Arch.

A flat tablet or ledge of any material set horizontally at a distance from the floor, to hold objects of use or ornament.


A sand bank in the sea, or a rock, or ledge of rocks, rendering the water shallow, and dangerous to ships.

On the tawny sands and shelves. Milton.

On the secret shelves with fury cast. Dryden.

3. Mining

A stratum lying in a very even manner; a flat, projecting layer of rock.

4. Naut.

A piece of timber running the whole length of a vessel inside the timberheads.

D. Kemp.

To lay on the shelf, to lay aside as unnecessary or useless; to dismiss; to discard.


© Webster 1913.