high, low
bottom, middle, top

He took a book down from the top shelf.

bare, empty
glass, metal, wooden
book (usually bookshelf), CD, DVD, video
bathroom, kitchen, library, shop (BrE), store (esp. AmE), supermarket

The supermarket shelves were bare.

closet (esp. AmE)

The cabinet has three shelves.

build, put up

She soon learned how to put up her own shelves.

arrange sth on, display sth on, put sth (back) on, replace sth on, return sth to, stack sth on

I put the box back on the shelf.

restock, stack (esp. BrE), stock (AmE)

He has a job stacking/stocking shelves.

fill, line, pack

The shelves were packed with dolls of every shape and size.

Hundreds of books lined the shelves.


I've cleared a shelf in the bedroom for you.

get sth (down) from, get sth (down) off, pick sth from, pick sth off, remove sth from, take sth (down) from, take sth (down) off

They immediately removed the product from their shelves.

fit on, fit onto, go on, remain on, sit on

Souvenirs filled the shelves.

Her diaries just sat on the shelf for years (= nobody looked at them).

browse, scan, scour, search

She scanned the shelves of the library for new books.


I can't reach the top shelf.

reach for

She reached for the shelf next to the bed.

be full of sth, contain sth, hold sth

Shelves lined the walls behind the long counter.


The medicine has a shelf life of six months.

off a/the shelf

I knocked it off the shelf by accident.

on a/the shelf

the books on the shelves

shelf of

a shelf of books on economics

be filled with shelves, be lined with shelves

The walls of her study were lined with shelves.

a place on your shelves

The book deserves a place on everyone's shelves.

hit the shelves (figurative)

Their new CD hits the shelves in May.

fly off the shelves (both figurative)

The DVD is flying off the shelves.

Collocations dictionary. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • shelf — W3S3 [ʃelf] n plural shelves [ʃelvz] [Date: 1300 1400; : Middle Low German; Origin: schelf] 1.) a long flat narrow board attached to a wall or in a frame or cupboard, used for putting things on top/bottom/next etc shelf ▪ Put it back on the top… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • shelf — [ ʃelf ] (plural shelves [ ʃelvz ] ) noun count ** 1. ) a flat piece of wood, plastic, or glass that is attached to the wall or is part of a piece of furniture, used for putting things on: He took a book from the shelf. top/bottom shelf: The… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • shelf — [shelf] n. pl. shelves [ME, prob. < MLowG schelf, akin to OE scylf, shelf, ledge < IE * skelp < base * (s)kel , to cut > HALF] 1. a thin, flat length of wood or other material fixed horizontally at right angles to a wall and used for… …   English World dictionary

  • shelf — (n.) late 14c., from M.L.G. schelf shelf, set of shelves, or from O.E. cognate scylfe shelf, ledge, floor, and scylf peak, pinnacle, from P.Gmc. *skelf , *skalf split, possibly from the notion of a split piece of wood (Cf. O.N. skjölf bench ),… …   Etymology dictionary

  • shelf — ► NOUN (pl. shelves) 1) a flat length of wood or other rigid material attached to a wall or forming part of a piece of furniture, providing a surface for storage or display. 2) a ledge of rock or protruding strip of land. ● off the shelf Cf. ↑off …   English terms dictionary

  • Shelf — Shelf, n.; pl. {Shelves}. [OE. shelfe, schelfe, AS. scylfe; akin to G. schelfe, Icel. skj[=a]lf. In senses 2 & 3, perhaps a different word (cf. {Shelve}, v. i.).] 1. (Arch.) A flat tablet or ledge of any material set horizontally at a distance… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shelf — has the plural form shelves, and the corresponding verb is shelve. The compound form shelf ful should be written with a hyphen for clarity, and its plural is shelf fuls …   Modern English usage

  • shelf — shelf; shelf·ful; …   English syllables

  • Shelf — (spr. schelf), Stadt im Westbezirk von Yorkshire (England), 5 km nordöstlich von Halifax, mit Kammgarn und Damastweberei, chemischen Fabriken und (1901) 2500 Einw. In der Umgegend Kohlen und Eisengruben und Steinbrüche …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • shelf — [n] jutting, flat area or piece bank, bracket, console, counter, cupboard, ledge, mantelpiece, mantle, rack, reef, ridge, rock, shallow, shoal; concepts 445,509,513 …   New thesaurus

  • Shelf — A shelf is a detail of furniture for storing items.It may also refer to:* Shelf (computing), a user interface feature in the NeXTSTEP operating system * Shelf, West Yorkshire, a village in England * Continental shelf, the extended perimeter of a… …   Wikipedia

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