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

  • n. The amount that a shovel can hold.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The amount that can be moved at once with a shovel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. As much as a shovel will hold; enough to fill a shovel.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. As much as a shovel will hold or will readily lift at one time.

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

  • n. the quantity a shovel can hold


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The number of self-proclaimed experts on the internet only proves the point that one should take advice with a "shovelful" of salt.

    A Shovelful of Salt, Part II: Trigger Weight and Gun Safety

  • Twenty cents, thirty cents, fifty cents, sixty cents, were the values of the gold found in the pans, and at nightfall he washed his banner pan, which gave him a dollar's worth of gold-dust from a shovelful of dirt.

    All Gold Cañon

  • Where the side-hill touched the water he dug up a shovelful of dirt and put it into the gold-pan.

    All Gold Cañon

  • "It's just booful, the way it peters out," he exulted when a shovelful of dirt contained no more than a single speck of gold.

    All Gold Cañon

  • "Don't you hesitate a minute now, Mr. Knapp," said old Mrs. Hennessy heartily; "if it's no more than to put a shovelful of coal on the kitchen fire, you call 14 ring 32 and I'll be right over."

    Are We Still Neighbors?

  • And then one chill afternoon, sitting buttock to buttock with Fawn Greenstreet — Bodhi — on one side of him and Karuna on the other, staring through the long-nosed ascetic face of Geshe Stephen and digging inward, shovelful by shovelful, bup-bup-bah came to him.

    The Silence

  • Where the sidehill touched the water he dug up a shovelful of dirt and put it into the gold-pan.

    All Gold Canon

  • They went around and gathered every bit of soil they could find, gleaned it and even stole it by the shovelful or handful, and carried it up the mountains on their backs and built farms -- BUILT them, MADE them, on the naked rock.


  • Only last week, the government announced that teachers are going to be able to use more "physical force" in schools – whatever that means, though it sounds less like a boon, and more like another shovelful of stress and responsibility.

    Should teachers be accountable for their private lives?

  • Shovelful by shovelful, she dug through tons of slag, boiling it down over several years to isolate polonium and radium.

    Alan Alda: In Love With Marie


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