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[shuhv-uh l] /ˈʃʌv əl/
an implement consisting of a broad blade or scoop attached to a long handle, used for taking up, removing, or throwing loose matter, as earth, snow, or coal.
any fairly large contrivance or machine with a broad blade or scoop for taking up or removing loose matter:
a steam shovel.
Informal. shovel hat.
verb (used with object), shoveled, shoveling or (especially British) shovelled, shovelling.
to take up and cast or remove with a shovel:
to shovel coal.
to gather up in large quantity roughly or carelessly with or as if with a shovel:
He shoveled food into his mouth.
to dig or clear with or as if with a shovel:
to shovel a path through the snow.
verb (used without object), shoveled, shoveling or (especially British) shovelled, shovelling.
to work with a shovel.
Origin of shovel
before 900; Middle English schovel, Old English scofl; cognate with Dutch schoffel hoe; akin to German Schaufel shovel
Related forms
unshoveled, adjective
unshovelled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shovel
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So he set to work with pick and shovel all the rest of that day.

    Johnny Bear E. T. Seton
  • It was Brother Paul coming up with a spade to shovel away the snow.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • How delicious is flattery, even when thrown down one's throat with a shovel!

    An Old Sailor's Yarns Nathaniel Ames
  • In a trembling voice she asked me if I would please find a shovel.

  • I did not offer to go and fetch up my shovel, which was left down below.

    Youth Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for shovel


an instrument for lifting or scooping loose material, such as earth, coal, etc, consisting of a curved blade or a scoop attached to a handle
any machine or part resembling a shovel in action
Also called shovelful. the amount that can be contained in a shovel
short for shovel hat
verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
to lift (earth, etc) with a shovel
(transitive) to clear or dig (a path) with or as if with a shovel
(transitive) to gather, load, or unload in a hurried or careless way: he shovelled the food into his mouth and rushed away
Derived Forms
shoveller, (US) shoveler, noun
Word Origin
Old English scofl; related to Old High German scūfla shovel, Dutch schoffel hoe; see shove
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 shovel

Old English scofl, sceofol "shovel," related to scufan (see shove (v.)), from Proto-Germanic *skublo (cf. Old Saxon skufla, Swedish skovel, Middle Low German schufle, Middle Dutch shuffel, Dutch schoffel, Old High German scuvala, German Schaufel). Shovel-ready, with reference to construction projects, is attested by 2006.


mid-15c., from shovel (n.). Related: Shoveled; shoveling. Cf. German schaufeln, verb from noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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