from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The long narrow stem or body of a spear or arrow.
  • n. A spear or arrow.
  • n. A projectile suggestive of a spear or arrow in appearance or configuration.
  • n. Informal A scornfully satirical comment; a barb.
  • n. Slang Harsh, unfair treatment. Often used with the: The president of the airline really gave the unions the shaft.
  • n. A ray or beam of light.
  • n. A long thin object or part, as:
  • n. The handle of any of various tools or implements.
  • n. One of two parallel poles between which an animal is harnessed to a vehicle.
  • n. A long, generally cylindrical bar that rotates and transmits power, as the drive shaft of an engine.
  • n. Zoology The main axis of a feather, especially its distal portion.
  • n. Anatomy The midsection of a long bone; the diaphysis.
  • n. Anatomy The section of a hair projecting from the surface of the body.
  • n. Architecture A column or obelisk.
  • n. Architecture The principal portion of a column, between the capital and the base.
  • n. A long, narrow, often vertical passage sunk into the earth, as for mining ore; a tunnel.
  • n. A vertical passage housing an elevator.
  • n. A duct or conduit for the passage of air, as for ventilation or heating.
  • transitive v. To equip with a shaft.
  • transitive v. Slang To treat in a harsh, unfair way: "He had been shafted by the press quite a bit” ( Frank Deford).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The long narrow body of a spear or arrow
  • n. A beam or ray of light
  • n. Any long thin object, such as the handle of a tool, one of the poles between which an animal is harnessed to a vehicle, the driveshaft of a motorized vehicle with rear-wheel drive, an axle, etc.
  • n. The main axis of a feather
  • n. The long narrow body of a lacrosse stick
  • n. A long narrow passage sunk into the earth, for mining etc; a mineshaft.
  • n. A vertical or near-vertical cave passage.
  • n. A vertical passage housing a lift or elevator; a liftshaft.
  • n. A ventilation or heating conduit; an air duct.
  • n. A malicious act, as in “to give someone the shaft”
  • n. The main cylindrical part of the penis
  • v. to equip something with a shaft
  • v. To have sexual intercourse with someone
  • v. To cause someone harm, especially in a deceitful or treacherous way.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The slender, smooth stem of an arrow; hence, an arrow.
  • n. The long handle of a spear or similar weapon; hence, the weapon itself; (Fig.) anything regarded as a shaft to be thrown or darted.
  • n. That which resembles in some degree the stem or handle of an arrow or a spear; a long, slender part, especially when cylindrical.
  • n. The stem or midrib of a feather.
  • n. The pole, or tongue, of a vehicle; also, a thill.
  • n. The part of a candlestick which supports its branches.
  • n. The handle or helve of certain tools, instruments, etc., as a hammer, a whip, etc.
  • n. A pole, especially a Maypole.
  • n. The body of a column; the cylindrical pillar between the capital and base (see Illust. of Column). Also, the part of a chimney above the roof. Also, the spire of a steeple.
  • n. A column, an obelisk, or other spire-shaped or columnar monument.
  • n. A rod at the end of a heddle.
  • n. A solid or hollow cylinder or bar, having one or more journals on which it rests and revolves, and intended to carry one or more wheels or other revolving parts and to transmit power or motion.
  • n. A humming bird (Thaumastura cora) having two of the tail feathers next to the middle ones very long in the male; -- called also cora humming bird.
  • n. A well-like excavation in the earth, perpendicular or nearly so, made for reaching and raising ore, for raising water, etc.
  • n. A long passage for the admission or outlet of air; an air shaft.
  • n. The chamber of a blast furnace.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A long slender rod forming the body of a spear or lance; also, the spear or lance itself.
  • n. An arrow; a long arrow, used with the long-bow, as distinguished from the bolt, or quarrel, used with the crossbow. See arrow, broad-arrow, flight-arrow.
  • n. Something resembling an arrow or a missile in shape, motion, or effect: as, shafts of light.
  • n. A body of a long cylindrical shape; an unbranched stem, stalk, trunk, or the like; the columnar part of anything.
  • n. A handle, as of a tool, utensil, instrument, or the like: as, the shaft of a hammer, ax, whip, etc.
  • n. A long lath at each end of the heddles of a loom.
  • n. One of the bars or trams between a pair of which a horse is harnessed to a vehicle; a thill; also, the pole or tongue of a carriage, chariot, or the like.
  • n. In mining, a vertical or inclined excavation made in opening the ground for mining purposes.
  • n. In milit. mining, a vertical pit the bottom of which serves as a point of departure for a gallery or series of galleries leading to mines or chambers filled with explosives.
  • n. The interior space of a blast-furnace above the hearth, and especially the part where the diameter remains nearly the same, or that which is above the boshes. More often called the body of the furnace.
  • n. Creation; a creation; a creature.
  • n. Make; form; figure.
  • n. The main part of an arrow to which are fixed a bit of nocked horn at the butt and a head or pile at the point. See foreshaft.
  • n. In golf, the part of a club to which the head is joined.
  • n. A shaft on a gas or internal-combustion motor, making one turn to two of the motor-shaft, and carrying the cams and other mechanisms for valves and ignition, when the motor operates on the Otto cycle (see cycle, 12), in which one working stroke occurs in each two revolutions of the fly-wheel shaft.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the main (mid) section of a long bone
  • v. equip with a shaft
  • n. a revolving rod that transmits power or motion
  • n. (architecture) upright consisting of the vertical part of a column
  • n. an aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect
  • n. a long rod or pole (especially the handle of an implement or the body of a weapon like a spear or arrow)
  • n. obscene terms for penis
  • n. a long vertical passage sunk into the earth, as for a mine or tunnel
  • n. a column of light (as from a beacon)
  • n. a line that forms the length of an arrow pointer
  • n. the hollow spine of a feather
  • n. a vertical passageway through a building (as for an elevator)
  • v. defeat someone through trickery or deceit
  • n. a long pointed rod used as a tool or weapon


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English sceaft.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English sceaft, from Germanic Proto-Germanic *skaftaz. Cognate with Dutch schacht, German Schaft, Swedish skaft.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.