Meaning of SHELL in English


I. shell 1 S3 W3 /ʃel/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: sciell ]

1 .

a) the hard outer part that covers and protects an egg, nut, or seed:

Never buy eggs with cracked shells.

peanuts roasted in their shells

b) the hard protective covering of an animal such as a ↑ snail , ↑ mussel , or ↑ crab :

a snail shell

The children were collecting shells on the beach.

⇨ ↑ seashell

2 . a metal container, like a large bullet, which is full of an explosive substance and is fired from a large gun:

We ran for cover as shells dropped all around us.

an exploding mortar shell

3 . especially American English a metal tube containing a bullet and an explosive substance SYN cartridge

4 . the outside structure of something, especially the part of a building that remains when the rest of it has been destroyed

shell of

the burnt-out shell of a nightclub

5 . out of your shell becoming less shy and more confident and willing to talk to people:

I had hoped that university would bring him out of his shell.

She’s started to come out of her shell a little.

II. shell 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

1 . to fire shells from large guns at something:

The army has been shelling the town since yesterday.

2 . to remove something such as beans or nuts from a shell or ↑ pod :

Josie was shelling peas in the kitchen.

shell out (something) phrasal verb informal

to pay a lot of money for something, especially unwillingly:

If you want the repairs done right, you’ll have to shell out at least $800.

shell out (something) for

She ended up shelling out for two rooms.

• • •


▪ shoot verb [intransitive and transitive] to use a gun to fire bullets, or to kill or injure someone using a gun:

He ordered his men to stop shooting.


The guards shot the man as he was trying to escape.


President Kennedy was shot by a lone gunman.

▪ fire verb [intransitive and transitive] to shoot bullets from a gun, or send an explosive object towards someone or something:

Soldiers fired into the crowd.


Helicopters fired rockets at several buildings.


He regained his balance, took aim, and fired.


The police fired into the air to make the crowd break up.


As soon as we crossed the border, enemy troops started firing at us.


Kendrick fired three shots at the President’s car.


Suddenly the car stopped, and the passenger got out and fired a Kalashnikov rifle at the police car.

▪ launch verb [transitive] to send a large rocket or ↑ missile into the air:

American warships launched cruise missiles.


The guerrillas launched their rockets from densely populated towns.

▪ open fire to start shooting:

Nineteen students were injured after a gunman opened fire.


Troops opened fire on a group of unarmed demonstrators.


The colonel gave the order for the soldiers to open fire.

▪ shell verb [transitive] to fire shells (=metal containers filled with an explosive substance) at enemy soldiers, cities etc in a war, using large guns:

Border towns have been shelled by enemy aircraft for the past two months.


British warships began shelling German positions along the coast.

▪ bombard verb [transitive] to attack a place for a long time with shells or bombs:

Allied forces bombarded the coast prior to the invasion.


Troops bombarded the area with shells.


The allied forces bombarded the enemy trenches for weeks.


Cromwell’s men had been bombarding the fort with their artillery for several days.

▪ take a potshot at somebody/something to shoot at someone or something without aiming very carefully:

Someone tried to take a potshot at him, but hit the man behind instead.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.