Meaning of SHELL in English


I. ˈshel noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sciell; akin to Old English scealu shell, Old Norse skel, Lithuanian skelti to split, Greek skallein to hoe

Date: before 12th century


a. : a hard rigid usually largely calcareous covering or support of an animal

b. : the hard or tough often thin outer covering of an egg (as of a bird or reptile) — see egg illustration

2. : the covering or outside part of a fruit or seed especially when hard or fibrous

3. : shell material (as of mollusks or turtles) or their substance

4. : something that resembles a shell: as

a. : a framework or exterior structure ; especially : a building with an unfinished interior


(1) : an external case or outside covering

the shell of a ship

(2) : a thin usually spherical layer or surface enclosing a space or surrounding an object

an expanding shell of gas around a neutron star

c. : a casing without substance

mere effigies and shell s of men — Thomas Carlyle

d. : an edible crust for holding a filling

a pastry shell

a taco salad in a tortilla shell

e. : band shell

f. : a small beer glass

g. : an unlined article of outerwear

5. : a shell-bearing mollusk

6. : an impersonal attitude or manner that conceals the presence or absence of feeling

he retreated into his shell

7. : a narrow light racing boat propelled by one or more persons pulling oars or sculls

8. : any of the regions occupied by the orbits of a group of electrons of approximately equal energy surrounding the nucleus of an atom


a. : a projectile for cannon containing an explosive bursting charge

b. : a metal or paper case which holds the charge of powder and shot or bullet used with breech-loading small arms

10. : a plain usually sleeveless blouse or sweater

11. : a company or corporation that exists without assets or independent operations as a legal entity through which another company or corporation can conduct various dealings

• shell adjective

II. verb

Date: 1562

transitive verb


a. : to take out of a natural enclosing cover (as a shell, husk, pod, or capsule)

shell peanuts

b. : to separate the kernels of (as an ear of Indian corn, wheat, or oats) from the cob, ear, or husk

2. : to throw shells at, upon, or into : bombard

3. : to score heavily against (as an opposing pitcher in baseball)

intransitive verb

1. : to fall or scale off in thin pieces

2. : to cast the shell or exterior covering : fall out of the pod or husk

nuts which shell in falling

3. : to gather shells (as from a beach) : collect shells

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.