Meaning of SHAFT in English


I. ˈsha]ft, -aa(ə)], -ai], -ȧ] noun

( plural shafts ]f(t)s or, especially in sense 1b, ]vz ; see sense 1b )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sceaft; akin to Old High German scaft shaft, spear, Old Norse skapt shaft, handle, Latin scapus shaft, stalk, scopa broom, Greek skēptron staff, Russian shchepat' to split — more at capon



(1) : the long handle of a spear or similar weapon

(2) : spear , lance

b. or plural shaves ]vz\ : pole ; specifically : either of two long pieces of wood between which a horse is hitched to a vehicle


(1) : an arrow especially for a longbow — compare bolt 1a

(2) : the body or stem of an arrow extending from the nock to the head — see arrow illustration


a. : a sharply delineated beam shining through an opening (as a window or a break in a cloud)

shafts of sunlight pouring through the 75-foot windows — American Guide Series: New York City

b. : a lightning bolt

3. : something suggestive of the shaft of a spear or arrow : a long slender especially cylindrical part: as

a. : the stem of a tree : trunk

straight pine shafts

b. : the body of a column : the cylindrical pillar between the capital and the base — see column illustration

c. : the part of a chimney above the roof

d. : the handle or helve of any of various tools or instruments (as a hammer, whip, pick, or golf club) — see golf illustration

e. : a bar that is commonly cylindrical and solid but sometimes hollow especially when of large diameter and is used to support rotating pieces (as pulleys or flywheels) or to transmit power or motion by rotation — compare axle , flexible shaft , spindle

f. : the stem or midrib of a feather

g. : the narrowed basal part of any stalked structure

h. : the upright member of a cross ; especially : the portion below the arms

i. : a rod at the end of the heddle of a loom ; also : one of the series of harness frames on a loom — often used with a prefixed numeral in designating construction of cloth

a 4- shaft twill

j. : the cylindrical part of a long bone between the enlarged ends

k. : a small architectural column (as one attached to a pier to support a vault rib or around a doorway or window)

l. : a column, obelisk, or other spire-shaped or columnar monument

a marble shaft commemorates the battle — American Guide Series: Tennessee

m. : the stem of a match

4. : any of various long hollow structures: as


(1) : a vertical or inclined opening of uniform and limited cross section made for finding or mining ore, raising water, or ventilating underground workings — compare adit

(2) : a passage resembling a mine shaft in structure or function (as in a cave or a pyramid)

b. : the chamber of a blast furnace above the bosh

c. : a vertical opening or passage through the floors of a building

air shaft

elevator shaft


a. : a projectile (as a dart) thrown like a spear or shot like an arrow

b. : a scornful, satirical, or pithily critical remark : barb

directs shafts of ridicule against those who would keep the artist in isolation — L.L.Snyder

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

transitive verb

1. : to fit with a shaft

2. slang : to surprise by unfair or unexpectedly harsh treatment

was really shafted on that deal

intransitive verb

: to emit or become emitted as a beam of light : beam

sunlight shafted through the dust — Donald Windham

III. noun

: harsh or unfair treatment — used with the

his own mother … gave him the shaft — Robert Bloch

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.