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[sheef] /ʃif/
noun, plural sheaves.
one of the bundles in which cereal plants, as wheat, rye, etc., are bound after reaping.
any bundle, cluster, or collection:
a sheaf of papers.
verb (used with object)
to bind (something) into a sheaf or sheaves.
Origin of sheaf
before 900; Middle English shefe (noun), Old English schēaf; cognate with Dutch schoof sheaf, German Schaub wisp of straw, Old Norse skauf tail of a fox
Related forms
sheaflike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sheaf
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He brought over a sheaf of graphs, with explanatory tables attached.

    The Ultimate Weapon John Wood Campbell
  • He let the half-question hang in the air as he took a sheaf of papers from his briefcase.

    By Proxy Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Joe reached into an inner pocket and laid a sheaf of documents on the desk of Baron Malcolm Haer.

    Mercenary Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • Peterson riffled the sheaf of papers and waited expectantly.

    Make Mine Homogenized Rick Raphael
  • He placed the sheaf of banknotes on the table, and shuffled back again to the wall.

    The White Moll Frank L. Packard
  • He paused at his desk and laid his hand on a sheaf of papers piled there.

  • We may believe that Mark learned to be "glum" when he saw the Lariat approaching with his sheaf of rhymes.

British Dictionary definitions for sheaf


noun (pl) sheaves (ʃiːvz)
a bundle of reaped but unthreshed corn tied with one or two bonds
a bundle of objects tied together
the arrows contained in a quiver
(transitive) to bind or tie into a sheaf
Word Origin
Old English sceaf, related to Old High German skoub sheaf, Old Norse skauf tail, Gothic skuft tuft of hair
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sheaf

Old English sceaf (plural sceafas) "large bundle of corn," from Proto-Germanic *skauf- (cf. Old Saxon scof, Middle Dutch scoof, Dutch schoof, Old High German scoub "sheaf, bundle," German Schaub "sheaf;" Old Norse skauf "fox's tail;" Gothic skuft "hair on the head," German Schopf "tuft"), from PIE root *(s)keup- "cluster, tuft, hair of the head." Extended to bundles of things other than grain by c.1300. Also used in Middle English for "two dozen arrows." General sense of "a collection" is from 1728.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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