• Shaft


    • RP IPA: /ʃɑːft/
    • Rhymes: -ɑːft
    • US IPA: /ʃæft/


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

    Full definition of shaft



    (plural shafts)
    1. (obsolete) The entire body of a long weapon, such as an arrow.
      • Geoffrey ChaucerHis sleep, his meat, his drink, is him bereft,
        That lean he wax, and dry as is a shaft.
      • AschamA 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 MiltonAnd the thunder,
        Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage,
        Perhaps hath spent his shafts.
      • V. KnoxSome 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, Lee S. Langston, The Adaptable Gas Turbine, 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?
    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
      • EmersonBid 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 notes

    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". John Palsgrave (circa 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.



    1. (transitive, slang) To fuck over; to cause harm to, especially through deceit or treacheryYour 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 withTurns out my roommate was shafting my girlfriend.


    © Wiktionary