- The definition of a shaft is a long, narrow handle or a long narrow part of something, a sudden bolt of light or a sudden flash of some feeling.
- The long narrow handle of a golf club is an example of a shaft.
- A long narrow mine shaft or a vertical elevator shaft are both examples of a shaft.
- A sudden bolt of lightening is an example of a shaft of lightening.
- A sudden flash of happiness is an example of a shaft of happiness.
- To shaft is to treat someone harshly or unfairly.
When you stiff someone on pay you owe him, this is an example of a time when you shaft him.
Golf clubs with metal shafts.
- the long stem or body of an arrow or spear
- an arrow or spear
- a missile or something that seems to be hurled like a missile; bolt: shafts of lightning, derision, etc.
- a cone or column of light; ray; beam
- a long, slender part or object; specif.,
- Rare the trunk of a tree or stem of a plant
- the stem or rib of a feather
- the midsection of a long bone
- the supporting stem of a branched candlestick
- a column or obelisk; also, the main, usually cylindrical, part between the ends of a column or pillar; verge
- a flagpole
- a tall, slender building or part of a building; spire
- a handle, as on some tools or implements
- either of the two poles between which an animal is harnessed to a vehicle; thill
- a bar, usually cylindrical, for supporting or transmitting motion to a wheel, pulley, gear, cam, etc.: the drive shaft of an engine
- a long, narrow, vertical or slanting passage sunk into the earth: a mine shaft
- a vertical opening passing through the floors of a building, as for an elevator
- a conduit for air, as used in heating and ventilating
Origin of shaftMiddle English schaft ; from Old English sceaft, akin to German schaft ; from Indo-European base an unverified form (s)kap-, to cut with a sharp tool from source shave, Classical Greek skapos, rod, Classical Latin scapus, shaft, stalk
get the shaft
give someone the shaft
- A long thin object or part, as:a. The long narrow stem or body of a spear or arrow.b. A spear or arrow.c. The handle of any of various tools or implements.d. One of two parallel poles between which an animal is harnessed to a vehicle.e. A long, generally cylindrical bar that rotates and transmits power, as the drive shaft of an engine.
- Zoology The main axis of a feather, especially its distal portion.
- Anatomy a. The midsection of a long bone; the diaphysis.b. The section of a hair projecting from the surface of the body.
- Architecture a. A column or obelisk.b. The principal portion of a column, between the capital and the base.
- Something suggestive of a spear or arrow in appearance or configuration, as:a. A ray or beam of light.b. A bolt of lightning.
- a. A long, narrow, often vertical passage sunk into the earth, as for mining ore; a tunnel.b. A vertical passage housing an elevator.c. A duct or conduit for the passage of air, as for ventilation or heating.
- a. A scornful or sarcastic remark; a barb.b. Slang Harsh, unfair treatment. Often used with the: The management gave the unions the shaft.
- Vulgar Slang A penis.
transitive verbshaft·ed, shaft·ing, shafts
- To equip with a shaft.
- Slang To treat in a harsh, unfair way: “He had been shafted by the press quite a bit” (Frank Deford).
- Slang To penetrate (someone) sexually.
Origin of shaftMiddle English, from Old English sceaft.
- A shaft hath three principal parts, the stele, the feathers, and the head.
- The long, narrow, central body of a spear, arrow, or javelin.
- Her hand slipped off the javelin's shaft towards the spearpoint and that's why her score was lowered.
- (by extension) Anything cast or thrown as a spear or javelin.
- Any long thin object, such as the handle of a tool, one of the poles between which an animal is harnessed to a vehicle, the driveshaft of a motorized vehicle with rear-wheel drive, an axle, etc.
- A beam or ray of light.
- Isn't that shaft of light from that opening in the cave beautiful?
- The main axis of a feather.
- I had no idea that they removed the feathers' shafts to make the pillows softer!
- (lacrosse) The long narrow body of a lacrosse stick.
- Sarah, if you wear gloves your hands might not slip on your shaft and you can up your game, girl!
- A long, narrow passage sunk into the earth, either natural or for artificial
- Your grandfather used to work with a crane hauling ore out of the gold mine's shafts.
- A vertical passage housing a lift or elevator; a liftshaft.
- Darn it, my keys fell through the gap and into the elevator shaft.
- A ventilation or heating conduit; an air duct.
- Our parrot flew into the air duct and got stuck in the shaft.
- (architecture) Any column or pillar, particularly the body of a column between its capital and pediment
- The main cylindrical part of the penis.
- The female labia minora is homologous to the penis shaft skin of males.
- The chamber of a blast furnace.
In Early Modern English, the shaft refered to the entire body of a long weapon, such that an arrow's "shaft" was composed of its "tip", "stale" or "steal", and "fletching". Palsgrave (c."‰1530) glossed the French jempenne as "I fether a shafte, I put fethers upon a steale". Over time, the word came to be used in place of the former "stale" and lost its original meaning.
(third-person singular simple present shafts, present participle shafting, simple past and past participle shafted)
Old English sceaft, from Germanic Proto-Germanic *skaftaz. Cognate with Dutch schacht, German Schaft, Swedish skaft.