Meaning of SHELL in English


n. & v.


1. a the hard outer case of many marine molluscs (cockle shell). b the esp. hard but fragile outer covering of a bird's, reptile's, etc. egg. c the usu. hard outer case of a nut-kernel, seed, etc. d the carapace of a tortoise, turtle, etc. e the wing-case or pupa-case of many insects etc.

2 a an explosive projectile or bomb for use in a big gun or mortar. b a hollow metal or paper case used as a container for fireworks, explosives, cartridges, etc. c US a cartridge.

3 a mere semblance or outer form without substance.

4 any of several things resembling a shell in being an outer case, esp.: a a light racing-boat. b a hollow pastry case. c the metal framework of a vehicle body etc. d the walls of an unfinished or gutted building, ship, etc. e an inner or roughly-made coffin. f a building shaped like a conch. g the handguard of a sword.

5 a group of electrons with almost equal energy in an atom.


1. tr. remove the shell or pod from.

2 tr. bombard (a town, troops, etc.) with shells.

3 tr. provide or cover with a shell or shells.

4 intr. (usu. foll. by off) (of metal etc.) come off in scales.

5 intr. (of a seed etc.) be released from a shell.

Phrases and idioms:

come out of one's shell cease to be shy; become communicative. shell-bit a gouge-shaped boring bit. shell company an unimportant firm made the subject of a take-over bid because of its status on the Stock Exchange etc. shell egg an egg still in its shell, not dried etc. shell-heap (or -mound) hist. a kitchen midden. shell-jacket an army officer's tight-fitting undress jacket reaching to the waist. shell-lime fine quality lime produced by burning sea shells. shell-money shells used as a medium of exchange, e.g. wampum. shell out (also absol.) colloq.

1. pay (money).

2 hand over (a required sum).

shell-out n.

1. the act of shelling out.

2 a game of snooker etc. played by three or more people. shell-pink a delicate pale pink. shell-shock a nervous breakdown resulting from exposure to battle. shell-shocked suffering from shell-shock. shell-work ornamentation consisting of shells cemented on to wood etc.


shelled adj. shell-less adj. shell-like adj. shellproof adj. (in sense 2a of n.). shelly adj.

Etymology: OE sc(i)ell f. Gmc: cf. SCALE(1)

Oxford English vocab.      Оксфордский английский словарь.