[shaf-ting, shahf-]


a number of shafts.
Machinery. a system of shafts, as the overhead shafts formerly used for driving the machinery of a mill.
steel bar stock used for shafts.
Architecture. a system of shafts, as those around a pier or in the reveals of an archway.
Slang. an instance of unique or unfair treatment: The owners gave him a real shafting on the deal.

Origin of shafting

First recorded in 1815–25; shaft + -ing1


[shaft, shahft]


a long pole forming the body of various weapons, as lances, halberds, or arrows.
something directed or barbed as in sharp attack: shafts of sarcasm.
a ray or beam: a shaft of sunlight.
a long, comparatively straight handle serving as an important or balancing part of an implement or device, as of a hammer, ax, golf club, or other implement.
Machinery. a rotating or oscillating round, straight bar for transmitting motion and torque, usually supported on bearings and carrying gears, wheels, or the like, as a propeller shaft on a ship, or a drive shaft of an engine.
a flagpole.
  1. that part of a column or pier between the base and capital.
  2. any distinct, slender, vertical masonry feature engaged in a wall or pier and usually supporting or feigning to support an arch or vault.
a monument in the form of a column, obelisk, or the like.
either of the parallel bars of wood between which the animal drawing a vehicle is hitched.
any well-like passage or vertical enclosed space, as in a building: an elevator shaft.
Mining. a vertical or sloping passageway leading to the surface.
Botany. the trunk of a tree.
Zoology. the main stem or midrib of a feather.
Also called leaf. Textiles. the harness or warp with reference to the pattern of interlacing threads in weave constructions (usually used in combination): an eight-shaft satin.
the part of a candelabrum that supports the branches.

verb (used with object)

to push or propel with a pole: to shaft a boat through a tunnel.
Informal. to treat in a harsh, unfair, or treacherous manner.

Origin of shaft

before 1000; Middle English; Old English sceaft; cognate with German Schaft; compare Latin scāpus shaft, Greek skêptron scepter
Related formsshaft·less, adjectiveshaft·like, adjectivesub·shaft, nounun·shaft·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shafting

Contemporary Examples of shafting

Historical Examples of shafting

British Dictionary definitions for shafting



an assembly of rotating shafts for transmitting power
the stock from which shafts are made
architect a set of shafts



the long narrow pole that forms the body of a spear, arrow, etc
something directed at a person in the manner of a missileshafts of sarcasm
a ray, beam, or streak, esp of light
a rod or pole forming the handle of a hammer, axe, golf club, etc
a revolving rod that transmits motion or power: usually used of axial rotationCompare rod (def. 9)
one of the two wooden poles by which an animal is harnessed to a vehicle
  1. the middle part (diaphysis) of a long bone
  2. the main portion of any elongated structure or part
the middle part of a column or pier, between the base and the capital
a column, obelisk, etc, esp one that forms a monument
architect a column that supports a vaulting rib, sometimes one of a set
a vertical passageway through a building, as for a lift
a vertical passageway into a mine
ornithol the central rib of a feather
an archaic or literary word for arrow
get the shaft US and Canadian slang to be tricked or cheated


slang to have sexual intercourse with (a woman)
slang to trick or cheat

Word Origin for shaft

Old English sceaft; related to Old Norse skapt, German Schaft, Latin scāpus shaft, Greek skeptron sceptre, Lettish skeps javelin
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

Word Origin and History for shafting



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

shafting in Medicine




An elongated rodlike structure, such as the midsection of a long bone.
The section of a hair projecting from the surface of the body.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.