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

  • intransitive verb To remove the beard or other body hair from, with a razor or shaver.
  • intransitive verb To cut (the beard, for example) at the surface of the skin with a razor or shaver.
  • intransitive verb To crop, trim, or mow closely.
  • intransitive verb To remove thin slices from.
  • intransitive verb To cut or scrape into thin slices; shred.
  • intransitive verb To come close to or graze in passing. synonym: brush.
  • intransitive verb To reduce by a small amount.
  • intransitive verb To cut (a price) by a slight margin.
  • intransitive verb To purchase (a note) at a reduction greater than the legal or customary rate.
  • intransitive verb To limit the number of (points) scored by one's own team in an athletic contest by point-shaving.
  • intransitive verb To remove the beard or other body hair with a razor or shaver.
  • noun The act, process, or result of shaving.
  • noun A thin slice or scraping; a shaving.
  • noun Any of various tools used for shaving.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act or operation of shaving; the being shaved.
  • noun A shaving; a thin paring.
  • noun Motion so close to something as almost to scrape or graze it; a very close approach; hence, an exceedingly narrow miss or escape: often with close or near.
  • noun A knife with a long blade and a handle at each end, for shaving hoops, spokes (a spoke-shave), etc.; a drawing-knife, used by shoe-makers.
  • noun In stock transactions, a premium or consideration paid for an extension of time of delivery or payment, or for the right to vary a contract in some particular.
  • noun The proportion of receipts paid by a local theatrical manager to a traveling company or combination.
  • noun One who is close or hard in bargaining; specifically, one who shaves notes.
  • noun A trick; a piece of knavery, especially in money matters; hence, by extension, any piece of deception.
  • In hat-making, to rub down the outside of (a felt hat), as with pumice or sandpaper.
  • To remove a thin film of oxid from a metal surface, as of sheet-lead or lead-pipe, so as to expose a clean area to receive the solder in making a joint.
  • noun A Middle English past participle of shave.
  • To remove by a slicing, paring, or sliding action of a keen-edged instrument; especially, to remove by cutting close to the skin with a razor: sometimes with off: as, to shave the beard.
  • To make bare by cutting off the hair, or the like: as, to shave the chin or head; also, to remove the hair or beard of with a razor: as, to shave a man: often used figuratively.
  • To cut down gradually by taking off thin shavings or parings: as, to shave shingles or hoops.
  • To skim along or near the surface of; pass very close to; come very near touching or grazing. Compare shave, n., 3.
  • To strip; fleéce; cheat; swindle.
  • Synonyms and Peel, Shave off, etc. See pare, transitive verb
  • To remove the beard with a razor; use a razor in removing the beard or hair from the face or head.
  • To be hard or extortionate in bargains; specifically, to purchase notes or securities at a greater discount than is common.

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

  • intransitive verb To use a razor for removing the beard; to cut closely; hence, to be hard and severe in a bargain; to practice extortion; to cheat.
  • obs. p. p. of shave.
  • transitive verb To cut or pare off from the surface of a body with a razor or other edged instrument; to cut off closely, as with a razor.
  • transitive verb To make bare or smooth by cutting off closely the surface, or surface covering, of; especially, to remove the hair from with a razor or other sharp instrument; to take off the beard or hair of
  • transitive verb To cut off thin slices from; to cut in thin slices.
  • transitive verb To skim along or near the surface of; to pass close to, or touch lightly, in passing.
  • transitive verb colloq. To strip; to plunder; to fleece.
  • transitive verb [Cant, U.S.] to buy it at a discount greater than the legal rate of interest, or to deduct in discounting it more than the legal rate allows.
  • noun A thin slice; a shaving.
  • noun A cutting of the beard; the operation of shaving.
  • noun Cant, U.S., Cant, U.S., Cant, U.S. An exorbitant discount on a note.
  • noun Cant, U.S. A premium paid for an extension of the time of delivery or payment, or for the right to vary a stock contract in any particular.
  • noun A hand tool consisting of a sharp blade with a handle at each end; a drawing knife; a spokeshave.


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

[Middle English shaven, to scrape, from Old English sceafan.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English sceafa

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English shaven, schaven, from Old English scafan ("to shave, scrape, shred, polish"), from Proto-Germanic *skabanan (“to scratch”), from Proto-Indo-European *skÀbʰ-, *skab- (“to cut, split, form, carve”). Cognate with Dutch schaven ("to shave, plane"), German schaben ("to scrape, shave"), Swedish skava ("to scrape, chafe").



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  • "But when the interview started I realized I was no longer someone who could talk the quiet, polite, oblique version of self-promotion demanded by academic hiring committees. I was too deeply, permanently spooked by our condition. I was just plain wrong, unhireably wrong in every way. No hot water on the boat, and I needed to shave the graying wisps of hair on my big bald head, so I’d shaved in the McDonald’s men’s room on the way to the interview, with a cheap Bic shaver. You can guess the results: it looked like a bobcat had tried to roost on my scalp, and been evicted after a violent struggle."

    - John Dolan, 'Tips for New Paupers',, 15 Oct 2008.

    October 30, 2008

  • A coppice or little wood. - an old provincial term from Kent England.

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