verb (used with object)
  1. to shove or turn (someone or something) aside or out of the way.
  2. to sidetrack; get rid of.
  3. Electricity.
    1. to divert (a part of a current) by connecting a circuit element in parallel with another.
    2. to place or furnish with a shunt.
  4. Railroads. to shift (rolling stock) from one track to another; switch.
  5. Surgery.
    1. to divert blood or other fluid by means of a shunt.
    2. the tube itself.
  6. to move or turn aside or out of the way.
  7. (of a locomotive with rolling stock) to move from track to track or from point to point, as in a railroad yard; switch.
  1. the act of shunting; shift.
  2. Also called bypass. Electricity. a conducting element bridged across a circuit or a portion of a circuit, establishing a current path auxiliary to the main circuit, as a resistor placed across the terminals of an ammeter for increasing the range of the device.
  3. a railroad switch.
  4. Surgery. a channel through which blood or other bodily fluid is diverted from its normal path by surgical reconstruction or by a synthetic tube.
  5. Anatomy. an anastomosis.
  1. Electricity. being, having, or operating by means of a shunt: a shunt circuit; a shunt generator.

Origin of shunt

1175–1225; (v.) Middle English schunten, shonten to shy (said of horses); (noun) Middle English, derivative of the v.; akin to shun
Related formsshunt·er, nounun·shunt·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shunter

Historical Examples of shunter

  • I'm some shunter myself; but I dip the colors to Aunty: she does it so neat and sudden!

  • This one was a shunter, another was a carpenter, a third was a waggon-builder, and so on.

  • "There'll be some soft jobs going—then," murmured a shunter, who was getting on in years, reflectively.

British Dictionary definitions for shunter


  1. a small railway locomotive used for manoeuvring coaches rather than for making journeys


  1. to turn or cause to turn to one side; move or be moved aside
  2. railways to transfer (rolling stock) from track to track
  3. electronics to divert or be diverted through a shunt
  4. (tr) to evade by putting off onto someone else
  5. (tr) motor racing slang to crash (a car)
  1. the act or an instance of shunting
  2. a railway point
  3. electronics a low-resistance conductor connected in parallel across a device, circuit, or part of a circuit to provide an alternative path for a known fraction of the current
  4. med a channel that bypasses the normal circulation of the blood: a congenital abnormality or surgically induced
  5. British informal a collision which occurs when a vehicle runs into the back of the vehicle in front

Word Origin for shunt

C13: perhaps from shunen to shun
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 shunter



early 13c., "to shy, start," perhaps from shunen "to shun" (see shun), and altered by influence of shot or shut. Meaning "to turn aside" is from late 14c.; that of "move out of the way" is from 1706. Adopted by railways from 1842. Related: Shunted; shunting.



1838, in railway use, from shunt (v.). By technicians in the sense of "electrical conductor" from 1863. Medical use dates from 1923.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

shunter in Medicine


  1. A passage between two natural body channels, such as blood vessels, especially one created surgically to divert or permit flow from one pathway or region to another; a bypass.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.