- that part of a column or pier between the base and capital.
- any distinct, slender, vertical masonry feature engaged in a wall or pier and usually supporting or feigning to support an arch or vault.
verb (used with object)
- shaft alley,
- shaft feather,
- shaft grave,
- shaft horsepower,
- shaft house
Origin of shaft
Examples from the Web for shaft
In one tragic incident in 1965, a man named Bob Restall passed out in the shaft and fell into the water.
Any celebration of these findings was quickly quashed as the shaft continued to flood and delay the work.
For decades, explorers struggled to cap an endless flood of water that prevented access to the shaft.
The elevator stopped at the bottom of the shaft, and the men flipped on their flashlights.The Real Monuments Men: The Coronation Chamber of Hitler|Robert Edsel|February 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But Johnny slithered into the shaft, crawled five hundred feet into the earth.
The split portion of the hub is made to grip the shaft by means of a heavy clamp ring and set screw.Illustrated Catalogue of Cotton Machinery|Howard & Bullough American Machine Company, Ltd.
I avoided his shaft, and as his horse bolted past on my left, I pushed him with my shield, and knocked him from the saddle.The Prince of India, Volume II|Lew. Wallace
Alas, how cruelly barbed and how skilfully directed—how fatally sent, was the shaft of inexorable fate!Captain Kyd (Vol 1 of 2)|Jonathon Holt Ingraham
A shaft of sunlight had strayed over from the flower field and was loitering on his unpowdered hair, beating it into gold.Through the Gates of Old Romance|W. Jay Mills
And then the box struck the bottom of the shaft, and with a sigh of relief a lieutenant and two men crawled out.The Black Star|Johnston McCulley
- the middle part (diaphysis) of a long bone
- the main portion of any elongated structure or part
Word Origin for shaft
Old English sceaft "long, slender rod, staff, pole; spear-shaft; spear," from Proto-Germanic *skaftaz (cf. Old Norse skapt, Old Saxon skaft, Old High German scaft, German schaft, Dutch schacht, not found in Gothic), which some connect with a Germanic passive past participle of PIE root *(s)kep- "to cut, to scrape" (cf. Old English scafan "to shave, scrape, polish") on notion of "tree branch stripped of its bark." But cf. Latin scapus "shaft, stem, shank," Greek skeptron "a staff" (see scepter) which appear to be cognates.
Meaning "beam or ray" (of light, etc.) is attested from c.1300. Sense of "an arrow" is from c.1400; that of "a handle" from 1520s. Mechanical sense is from 1680s. Vulgar slang meaning "penis" first recorded 1719 on notion of "columnar part" (late 14c.); hence probably shaft (v.) and the related noun sense "act of unfair treatment" (1959), though some early sources insist this is from the notion of a "wound."
"long, narrow passage sunk into the earth," early 15c., probably from shaft (n.1) on notion of "long and cylindrical," perhaps as a translation of cognate Low German schacht in this sense (Grimm's suggestion, though OED is against it). Or it may represent a separate (unrecorded) development in Old English directly from Proto-Germanic *skaftaz if the original sense is "scrape, dig." The slang sense of shaft (n.1) is punned upon in country music song "She Got the Gold Mine, I Got the Shaft," a hit for Jerry Reed in 1982.
"treat cruelly and unfairly," by 1958, perhaps from shaft (n.1) with overtones of sodomy. Related: Shafted; shafting.