• (RP) IPA: /ʃɑːft/
  • (America) IPA: /ʃæft/

shaft (plural shafts)

  1. (obsolete) The entire body of a long weapon, such as an arrow.
    • circa 1343-1400, Geoffrey Chaucer:
      His sleep, his meat, his drink, is him bereft, / That lean he wax, and dry as is a shaft.
    • circa 1515-1568, Roger 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.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter II, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175 ↗:
      Orion hit a rabbit once; but though sore wounded it got to the bury, and, struggling in, the arrow caught the side of the hole and was drawn out. […]. Ikey the blacksmith had forged us a spearhead after a sketch from a picture of a Greek warrior; and a rake-handle served as a shaft.
  3. (by extension) Anything cast or thrown as a spear or javelin.
    • circa 1608-1674, John Milton:
      And the thunder, / Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage, / Perhaps hath spent his shafts.
    • circa 1752-1821, Vicesimus 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.
  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 vertical or inclined passage sunk into the earth as part of a mine
    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 pedestal.
    • circa 1803-1882, Ralph Waldo 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.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • Portuguese: cabo
  • Russian: черено́к
Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

shaft (shafts, present participle shafting; past and past participle shafted)

  1. (transitive, slang) To fuck over; to cause harm to, especially through deceit or treachery.
    Synonyms: Thesaurus:deceive
    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.
    Synonyms: Thesaurus:copulate with
    Turns out my roommate was shafting my girlfriend.
    • 2018 Christian Cooke as Mickey Argyle, "Episode 2", Ordeal by Innocence (written by Sarah Phelps) 23 minutes
      Well at least I can get it up. No wonder Mary's going out of her head. Stuck with you sponging off her and not even a decent shafting for her trouble.

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