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

  • n. A tool with a handle and a broad scoop or blade for digging and moving material, such as dirt or snow.
  • n. A large mechanical device or vehicle for heavy digging or excavation.
  • n. The amount that a shovel can hold; a shovelful: One shovel of dirt.
  • transitive v. To move or remove with a shovel.
  • transitive v. To make with a shovel: shoveled a path through the snow.
  • transitive v. To convey or throw in a rough or hasty way, as if with a shovel: He shoveled the food into his mouth.
  • transitive v. To clear or excavate with or as if with a shovel: shoveling off the driveway after the snowstorm; shovels out the hall closet once a year.
  • intransitive v. To dig or work with a shovel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.
  • n. A spade.
  • v. To move materials with a shovel.
  • v. To move with a shoveling motion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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.
  • transitive v. To take up and throw with a shovel.
  • transitive v. To gather up as with a shovel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A shovel-hat.
  • n. In zoology, a formation suggesting a shovel. See cuts under paddle-fish and shoveler.
  • n. See the quotation.
  • n. Same as shoveler.
  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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


Middle English, from Old English scofl.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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"). (Wiktionary)



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