[shuhv-uh l]


verb (used with object), shov·eled, shov·el·ing or (especially British) shov·elled, shov·el·ling.

verb (used without object), shov·eled, shov·el·ing or (especially British) shov·elled, shov·el·ling.

to work with a shovel.

Origin of shovel

before 900; Middle English schovel, Old English scofl; cognate with Dutch schoffel hoe; akin to German Schaufel shovel
Related formsun·shov·eled, adjectiveun·shov·elled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shovel

Contemporary Examples of shovel

Historical Examples of shovel

  • So he set to work with pick and shovel all the rest of that day.

    Johnny Bear

    E. T. Seton

  • It was Brother Paul coming up with a spade to shovel away the snow.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • How delicious is flattery, even when thrown down one's throat with a shovel!

    An Old Sailor's Yarns

    Nathaniel Ames

  • In a trembling voice she asked me if I would please find a shovel.

  • I did not offer to go and fetch up my shovel, which was left down below.


    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for shovel



an instrument for lifting or scooping loose material, such as earth, coal, etc, consisting of a curved blade or a scoop attached to a handle
any machine or part resembling a shovel in action
Also called: shovelful the amount that can be contained in a shovel
short for shovel hat

verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled

to lift (earth, etc) with a shovel
(tr) to clear or dig (a path) with or as if with a shovel
(tr) to gather, load, or unload in a hurried or careless wayhe shovelled the food into his mouth and rushed away
Derived Formsshoveller or US shoveler, noun

Word Origin for shovel

Old English scofl; related to Old High German scūfla shovel, Dutch schoffel hoe; see shove
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 shovel

Old English scofl, sceofol "shovel," related to scufan (see shove (v.)), from Proto-Germanic *skublo (cf. Old Saxon skufla, Swedish skovel, Middle Low German schufle, Middle Dutch shuffel, Dutch schoffel, Old High German scuvala, German Schaufel). Shovel-ready, with reference to construction projects, is attested by 2006.


mid-15c., from shovel (n.). Related: Shoveled; shoveling. Cf. German schaufeln, verb from noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper