noun Physical Geography.
the part of a continent that is submerged in relatively shallow sea.
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- continental philosophy,
- continental quilt,
- continental rift,
- continental rise,
- continental seating,
- continental slope,
- continental system,
Origin of continental shelf
First recorded in 1940–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
the sea bed surrounding a continent at depths of up to about 200 metres (100 fathoms), at the edge of which the continental slope drops steeply to the ocean floor
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
The part of the edge of a continent between the shoreline and the continental slope. It is covered by shallow ocean waters and has a very gentle slope.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The region adjoining the coastline of a continent, where the ocean is no more than a few hundred feet deep. The shelf is built up from sediments washed down to the sea by rivers.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.