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  1. plural of sheaf.


[shivz, sheevz]
  1. plural of sheave2.


noun, plural sheaves.
  1. one of the bundles in which cereal plants, as wheat, rye, etc., are bound after reaping.
  2. any bundle, cluster, or collection: a sheaf of papers.
verb (used with object)
  1. 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 formssheaf·like, adjective


verb (used with object), sheaved, sheav·ing.
  1. to gather, collect, or bind into a sheaf or sheaves.

Origin of sheave1

First recorded in 1570–80; derivative of sheaf


[shiv, sheev]
  1. a pulley for hoisting or hauling, having a grooved rim for retaining a wire rope.
  2. a wheel with a grooved rim, for transmitting force to a cable or belt.

Origin of sheave2

1300–50; Middle English schive; akin to Dutch schijf sheave, German Scheibe disk
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sheaves

Historical Examples

  • Some bore ale and beer, and some bundles of bowstrings or sheaves of arrows.

    The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

    Howard Pyle

  • They were stationary, and it was necessary to bring the sheaves to them.

    The Age of Invention

    Holland Thompson

  • Then he was put in a box stall and given three sheaves of oats.

  • One man did the cradling and another the gathering and the binding into sheaves.

  • The blocks used have each three rows of sheaves side by side.

British Dictionary definitions for sheaves


  1. the plural of sheaf


  1. (tr) to gather or bind into sheaves


  1. a wheel with a grooved rim, esp one used as a pulley

Word Origin

C14: of Germanic origin; compare Old High German scība disc


noun plural sheaves (ʃiːvz)
  1. a bundle of reaped but unthreshed corn tied with one or two bonds
  2. a bundle of objects tied together
  3. the arrows contained in a quiver
  1. (tr) 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

Word Origin and History for sheaves



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.



"to gather up in sheaves," 1570s; see sheaf. Related: Sheaved; sheaving. Earlier verb in this sense was simply sheaf (c.1500).



"grooved wheel to receive a cord, pulley" (mid-14c.), also "slice of bread" (late 14c.), related to shive (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper