on the shelf
Inactive, not employed, as in With mandatory retirement at 65, many useful employees are put on the shelf. [Second half of 1500s]
In a state of disuse, as in We'll have to put her proposal on the shelf until we have more funds. [Late 1800s]
Without prospects of marriage. For example, After she broke her third engagement, her parents were sure she'd be on the shelf. This usage is always said of a woman and today considered offensive. It is probably obsolescent. [Early 1800s] All these usages allude to an article left on the shelf of a store, bookcase, or the like.
Words nearby on the shelf
How to use on the shelf in a sentence
Just the hard-on before you shoot unarmed members of the public.'Babylon' Review: The Dumb Lives of Trigger-Happy Cops|Melissa Leon|January 9, 2015|DAILY BEAST
France 24 is providing live, round-the-clock coverage of both scenes as they progress.
Sands was involved in a scandalous-for-the-time romance with the carpenter and there were rumors she was pregnant with his child.New York’s Most Tragic Ghost Loves Minimalist Swedish Fashion|Nina Strochlic|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Three on-the-record stories from a family: a mother and her daughters who came from Phoenix.I Tried to Warn You About Sleazy Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2003|Vicky Ward|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
You just travel light with carry-on luggage, go to cities that you love, and get to hang out with all your friends.Coffee Talk with Fred Armisen: On ‘Portlandia,’ Meeting Obama, and Taylor Swift’s Greatness|Marlow Stern|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Sleek finds it far harder work than fortune-making; but he pursues his Will-o'-the-Wisp with untiring energy.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills
On a shelf near one of these windows stood the little Madonna, again wreathed with vines as in San Pasquale.Ramona|Helen Hunt Jackson
You never know when you are going to stumble upon a jewel in the most out-of-the-way corner.Music-Study in Germany|Amy Fay
Mr. Slocum was not educated in a university, and his life has been in by-paths, and out-of-the-way places.
I drew back from the rim of Writing-On-the-Stone, that set of whispered phrases echoing in my ears.Raw Gold|Bertrand W. Sinclair