- shelf1noun (plural shelves)1》 a flat length of wood or rigid material attached to a wall or forming part of a piece of furniture, providing a surface for the storage or display of objects.2》 a ledge of rock or protruding strip of land.↘a submarine bank, or a part of the continental shelf.Phrasesoff the shelf not designed or made to order.on the shelf1》 no longer useful or desirable.2》 past an age when one might expect to be married.Derivativesshelf-ful noun (plural shelf-fuls).shelf-like adjectiveOriginME: from Mid. Low Ger. schelf; related to OE scylfe 'partition', scylf 'crag'.————————shelf2 Austral./NZinformalnoun (plural shelfs) an informer.verb inform on.Origin1930s: prob. from the phr. on the shelf 'out of the way'.
English new terms dictionary. 2014.