from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A long thin object or part, as.
  • noun The long narrow stem or body of a spear or arrow.
  • noun A spear or arrow.
  • noun The handle of any of various tools or implements.
  • noun One of two parallel poles between which an animal is harnessed to a vehicle.
  • noun A long, generally cylindrical bar that rotates and transmits power, as the drive shaft of an engine.
  • noun Zoology The main axis of a feather, especially its distal portion.
  • noun The midsection of a long bone; the diaphysis.
  • noun The section of a hair projecting from the surface of the body.
  • noun A column or obelisk.
  • noun The principal portion of a column, between the capital and the base.
  • noun Something suggestive of a spear or arrow in appearance or configuration, as.
  • noun A ray or beam of light.
  • noun A bolt of lightning.
  • noun A long, narrow, often vertical passage sunk into the earth, as for mining ore; a tunnel.
  • noun A vertical passage housing an elevator.
  • noun A duct or conduit for the passage of air, as for ventilation or heating.
  • noun A scornful or sarcastic remark; a barb.
  • noun Slang Harsh, unfair treatment. Often used with the.
  • noun Vulgar Slang A penis.
  • transitive verb To equip with a shaft.
  • transitive verb Slang To treat in a harsh, unfair way.
  • transitive verb Slang To penetrate (someone) sexually.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In mining, a vertical or inclined excavation made in opening the ground for mining purposes.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun In golf, the part of a club to which the head is joined.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A long slender rod forming the body of a spear or lance; also, the spear or lance itself.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Something resembling an arrow or a missile in shape, motion, or effect: as, shafts of light.
  • noun A body of a long cylindrical shape; an unbranched stem, stalk, trunk, or the like; the columnar part of anything.
  • noun A handle, as of a tool, utensil, instrument, or the like: as, the shaft of a hammer, ax, whip, etc.
  • noun A long lath at each end of the heddles of a loom.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Creation; a creation; a creature.
  • noun Make; form; figure.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The slender, smooth stem of an arrow; hence, an arrow.
  • noun The long handle of a spear or similar weapon; hence, the weapon itself; (Fig.) anything regarded as a shaft to be thrown or darted.
  • noun (Bot.) That which resembles in some degree the stem or handle of an arrow or a spear; a long, slender part, especially when cylindrical.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The stem or midrib of a feather.
  • noun The pole, or tongue, of a vehicle; also, a thill.
  • noun The part of a candlestick which supports its branches.
  • noun obsolete, Obs. or R., obsolete, Obs. or R. The handle or helve of certain tools, instruments, etc., as a hammer, a whip, etc.
  • noun obsolete, Obs. or R., Obs. or R. A pole, especially a Maypole.


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.


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