Shell Definition

shĕl
shelled, shelling, shells
noun
shells
A hard outer covering, as of a turtle, mollusk, insect, egg, fruit, seed, etc.
Webster's New World
A similar outer covering on a nut or seed.
American Heritage
Something like or suggestive of a shell in being hollow, empty, or simply a covering or framework, as the hull of a boat, a hollow pastry or unfilled pie crust, the framework of a building, a structure with an arched or hemispherical roof or back, a tapered beer glass, etc.
Webster's New World
A shy, reserved, or uncommunicative attitude or manner.
To come out of one's shell.
Webster's New World
A similar outer covering on certain eggs, such as those of birds and reptiles; an eggshell.
American Heritage
Antonyms:
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verb
shelled, shelling, shells
To separate from the shell or covering.
Peanuts shell easily.
Webster's New World
To remove the shell or covering from; take out of the shell.
To shell peas, oysters, etc.
Webster's New World
To fall, slough, or peel off.
Webster's New World
To separate kernels or grains of (corn, wheat, etc.) from the cob or ear.
Webster's New World
To fire shells at from a large gun or guns; bombard.
Webster's New World
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idiom
shell out
  • to pay out (money)
Webster's New World

Other Word Forms of Shell

Noun

Singular:
shell
Plural:
shells

Idioms, Phrasal Verbs Related to Shell

Origin of Shell

  • Middle English schelle, from Old English (Anglian) scell 'eggshell, seashell', (South) sciell, sciel, from Proto-Germanic *skaljō (compare West Frisian skyl (“peel, rind"), Dutch schil (“peel, skin, rink"), Low German Schell (“shell, scale")), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kel- (“to split, cleave") (compare Irish scelec (“pebble"), Latin silex (“pebble, flint"), siliqua (“pod"), Old Church Slavonic сколика (skolika, “shell")). More at shale. Doublet of sheal.

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English from Old English scell skel-1 in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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