noun, plural sheaves.

one of the bundles in which cereal plants, as wheat, rye, etc., are bound after reaping.
any bundle, cluster, or collection: a sheaf of papers.

verb (used with object)

to bind (something) into a sheaf or sheaves.

Origin of sheaf

before 900; Middle English shefe (noun), Old English schēaf; cognate with Dutch schoof sheaf, German Schaub wisp of straw, Old Norse skauf tail of a fox
Related formssheaf·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sheaf

Contemporary Examples of sheaf

  • We would get a sheaf of papers and pencils and listen to the tapes.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Going Public With the Nixon Tapes

    Scott Porch

    August 7, 2014

  • No, I don't have a sheaf of short stories buried in a drawer.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How "Patriots" Changed Me

    David Frum

    May 18, 2012

  • In one hand she carried a sheaf of Clinton literature; in the other she was lugging a stack of large yard signs.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Boys on the Bus

    Ben Crair

    November 3, 2008

Historical Examples of sheaf

British Dictionary definitions for sheaf


noun plural sheaves (ʃiːvz)

a bundle of reaped but unthreshed corn tied with one or two bonds
a bundle of objects tied together
the arrows contained in a quiver


(tr) to bind or tie into a sheaf

Word Origin for sheaf

Old English sceaf, related to Old High German skoub sheaf, Old Norse skauf tail, Gothic skuft tuft of hair
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 sheaf

Old English sceaf (plural sceafas) "large bundle of corn," from Proto-Germanic *skauf- (cf. Old Saxon scof, Middle Dutch scoof, Dutch schoof, Old High German scoub "sheaf, bundle," German Schaub "sheaf;" Old Norse skauf "fox's tail;" Gothic skuft "hair on the head," German Schopf "tuft"), from PIE root *(s)keup- "cluster, tuft, hair of the head." Extended to bundles of things other than grain by c.1300. Also used in Middle English for "two dozen arrows." General sense of "a collection" is from 1728.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper