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

  • noun A tool with a handle and a broad scoop or blade for digging and moving material, such as dirt or snow.
  • noun A large mechanical device or vehicle for heavy digging or excavation.
  • noun The amount that a shovel can hold; a shovelful.
  • intransitive verb To move or remove with a shovel.
  • intransitive verb To make with a shovel.
  • intransitive verb To convey or throw in a rough or hasty way, as if with a shovel.
  • intransitive verb To clear or excavate with or as if with a shovel.
  • intransitive verb To dig or work with a shovel.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as shoveler.
  • To take up and move with a shovel.
  • To move or throw in large quantities, hastily and clumsily, as if with a shovel: as, to shovel food into the mouth with a knife.
  • To cover up with earth by means of a spade or shovel.
  • To use a shovel: as, to shovel for one's living.
  • An obsolete form of shuffle.
  • noun An instrument consisting of a broad scoop or concave blade with a handle, used for taking up and removing loose substances, as coal, sand, earth, gravel, corn, coin, etc.
  • noun A shovel-hat.
  • noun In zoology, a formation suggesting a shovel. See cuts under paddle-fish and shoveler.
  • noun See the quotation.
  • noun The blade of any plow or cultivator exclusive of those having shares and mold-boards. Not only shovel-like blades but narrow vertical forms and horizontal scrapers are sometimes included. See scalp, n., 7; scooter, 3; scrape, 7; and entries below.

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

  • noun An implement consisting of a broad scoop, or more or less hollow blade, with a handle, used for lifting and throwing earth, coal, grain, or other loose substances.
  • noun [Colloq.] a broad-brimmed hat, turned up at the sides, and projecting in front like a shovel, -- worn by some clergy of the English Church.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a flat, horny process on the tarsus of some toads, -- used in burrowing.
  • noun a machine with a scoop or scoops, operated by a steam engine, for excavating earth, as in making railway cuttings.
  • transitive verb To take up and throw with a shovel.
  • transitive verb To gather up as with a shovel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A hand tool with a handle, used for moving portions of material such as earth, snow, and grain from one place to another, with some forms also used for digging. Not to be confused with a spade, which is designed solely for small-scale digging and incidental tasks such as chopping of small roots.
  • noun US A spade.
  • verb To move materials with a shovel.
  • verb transitive, figuratively To move with a shoveling motion.

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

  • noun a hand tool for lifting loose material; consists of a curved container or scoop and a handle
  • noun a machine for excavating
  • verb dig with or as if with a shovel
  • noun the quantity a shovel can hold
  • noun a fire iron consisting of a small shovel used to scoop coals or ashes in a fireplace


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

[Middle English, from Old English scofl.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English shovele, schovel, showell, shoule, shole (> English dialectal shoul, shool), from Old English scofl ("shovel"), from Proto-Germanic *skuflō, *skūflō (“shovel”), equivalent to shove +‎ -el (instrumental/agent suffix). Cognate with Scots shuffle, shule, shuil ("shovel"), Saterland Frisian Sköifel ("shovel"), West Frisian skoffel, schoffel ("hoe, spade, shovel"), Dutch schoffel ("spade, hoe"), Low German Schüfel, Schuffel ("shovel"), German Schaufel ("shovel"), Danish skovl ("shovel"), Swedish skyffel, skovel ("shovel"), Icelandic skófla ("shovel").


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