Pronunciation: (shelf), [key]
—pl. shelvesPronunciation: (shelvz). [key]
1. a thin slab of wood, metal, etc., fixed horizontally to a wall or in a frame, for supporting objects.
2. the contents of this: a shelf of books.
3. a surface or projection resembling this; ledge.
4. Physical Geog.
a. a sandbank or submerged extent of rock in the sea or river.
b. the bedrock underlying an alluvial deposit or the like.
c. See continental shelf.
5. Archery.the upper part of the bow hand, on which the arrow rests.
6. off the shelf, readily available from merchandise in stock: Any of those parts can be purchased off the shelf.
7. on the shelf, Informal.
a. put aside temporarily; postponed.
b. inactive; useless.
c. without prospects of marriage, as after having broken an engagement.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.