noun Physical Geography.
the part of a continent that is submerged in relatively shallow sea.
PeytonRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.
If “W” Is Double U, Why Is It Made Of Two Vs?The 23rd letter of the English alphabet is a bit of a wonder. The humble “w” is the only letter of the alphabet with a three-syllable name. It is also the only letter with a name that does not indicate its phonetic use. The complications of “w” are doublefold because of its name, ‘double u’ and its shape, ‘double v’. What’s going on here? In English, …
Origin of continental shelf
First recorded in 1940–45
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for continental shelf
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
Science definitions for continental shelf
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.
Culture definitions for continental shelf
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.