Last modified on 3 September 2014, at 01:24

shaft

EnglishEdit

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EtymologyEdit

Old English sceaft, from Germanic Proto-Germanic *skaftaz. Cognate with Dutch schacht, German Schaft, Swedish skaft.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

shaft (plural shafts)

  1. (obsolete) The entire body of a long weapon, such as an arrow.
    • Geoffrey Chaucer
      His sleep, his meat, his drink, is him bereft,
      That lean he wax, and dry as is a shaft.
    • Ascham
      A shaft hath three principal parts, the stele, the feathers, and the head.
  2. The long, narrow, central body of a spear, arrow, or javelin.
    Her hand slipped off the javelin's shaft towards the spearpoint and that's why her score was lowered.
  3. (by extension) Anything cast or thrown as a spear or javelin.
    • John Milton
      And the thunder,
      Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage,
      Perhaps hath spent his shafts.
    • V. Knox
      Some kinds of literary pursuits [] have been attacked with all the shafts of ridicule.
  4. Any long thin object, such as the handle of a tool, one of the poles between which an animal is harnessed to a vehicle, the driveshaft of a motorized vehicle with rear-wheel drive, an axle, etc.
    • 2013 July-August, Lee S. Langston, “The Adaptable Gas Turbine”, American Scientist: 
      Turbines have been around for a long time—windmills and water wheels are early examples. The name comes from the Latin turbo, meaning vortex, and thus the defining property of a turbine is that a fluid or gas turns the blades of a rotor, which is attached to a shaft that can perform useful work.
  5. A beam or ray of light.
    Isn't that shaft of light from that opening in the cave beautiful?
    • 1912, Willa Cather, The Bohemian Girl:
      They were a fine company of old women, and a Dutch painter would have loved to find them there together, where the sun made bright patches on the floor and sent long, quivering shafts of gold through the dusky shade up among the rafters.
  6. The main axis of a feather.
    I had no idea that they removed the feathers' shafts to make the pillows softer!
  7. (lacrosse) The long narrow body of a lacrosse stick.
    Sarah, if you wear gloves your hands might not slip on your shaft and you can up your game, girl!
  8. A long, narrow passage sunk into the earth, either natural or for artificial
    Your grandfather used to work with a crane hauling ore out of the gold mine's shafts.
  9. A vertical passage housing a lift or elevator; a liftshaft.
    Darn it, my keys fell through the gap and into the elevator shaft.
  10. A ventilation or heating conduit; an air duct.
    Our parrot flew into the air duct and got stuck in the shaft.
  11. (architecture) Any column or pillar, particularly the body of a column between its capital and pediment
    • Emerson
      Bid time and nature gently spare
      The shaft we raise to thee.
  12. The main cylindrical part of the penis.
    The female labia minora is homologous to the penis shaft skin of males.
  13. The chamber of a blast furnace.

Usage notesEdit

In Early Modern English, the shaft refered to the entire body of a long weapon, such that an arrow's "shaft" was composed of its "tip", "stale" or "steal", and "fletching". Palsgrave (c. 1530) glossed the French jempenne as "I fether a shafte, I put fethers upon a steale". Over time, the word came to be used in place of the former "stale" and lost its original meaning.

SynonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

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VerbEdit

shaft (third-person singular simple present shafts, present participle shafting, simple past and past participle shafted)

  1. (transitive, slang) To fuck over; to cause harm to, especially through deceit or treachery
    Your boss really shafted you by stealing your idea like that.
  2. (transitive) to equip with a shaft
  3. (transitive, slang) To fuck; to have sexual intercourse with
    Turns out my roommate was shafting my girlfriend.

TranslationsEdit

AnagramsEdit