What does SHALL mean?

Definitions for SHALL
ʃæl; unstressed ʃəlshall

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word SHALL.

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  1. shallverb

    To owe.

  2. Etymology: From the sceal "I shall, I must, I owe, ought to, must"; past tense sceolde, "I should, ought". A common Germanic preterite-present verb from Proto-Germanic *skal-, *skul- meaning "to owe, be under obligation". Allied to scyld "debt, guilt" through the past tense sceolde.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Shallv. defective.

    It has no tenses but shall future, and should imperfect. The explanation of shall, which foreigners and provincials confound with will, is not easy; and the difficulty is increased by the poets, who sometimes give to shall an emphatical sense of will:

    Etymology: sceal , Sax. is originally I owe, or I ought. In Geoffrey Chaucer, the faithe I shall to God, means the faith I owe to God: thence it became a sign of the future tense. The French use devoir, dois, doit, in the same manner, with a kind of future signification; and the Swedes have skall, and the Islanders skal, in the same sense.

    It is a mind, that shall remain a poison where it is.
    ———— Shall remain!
    Hear you this triton of the minnows? Mark you
    His absolute shall? William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    See Romulus the great:
    This prince a priestess of your blood shall bear,
    And like his sire in arms he shall appear. John Dryden, Æn.

    That he shall receive no benefit from Christ, is the affirmation whereon all his despair is founded; and the one way of removing this dismal apprehension, is to convince him that Christ’s death, and the benefits thereof, either do, or, if he perform the condition required of him, shall certainly belong to him. Henry Hammond, Fundamentals.


  1. Shall

    Shall and will are two of the English modal verbs. They have various uses, including the expression of propositions about the future, in what is usually referred to as the future tense of English. Historically, prescriptive grammar stated that, when expressing pure futurity (without any additional meaning such as desire or command), shall was to be used when the subject was in the first person, and will in other cases (e.g., "On Sunday, we shall go to church, and the preacher will read the Bible.") This rule is no longer commonly adhered to by any group of English speakers, and will has essentially replaced shall in nearly all contexts. Shall is, however, still widely used in bureaucratic documents, especially documents written by lawyers. Owing to heavy misuse, its meaning can be ambiguous and the United States government's Plain Language group advises writers not to use the word at all. Other legal drafting experts, including Plain Language advocates, argue that while shall can be ambiguous in statutes (which most of the cited litigation on the word's interpretation involves), court rules, and consumer contracts, that reasoning does not apply to the language of business contracts. These experts recommend using shall but only to impose an obligation on a contractual party that is the subject of the sentence, i.e., to convey the meaning "hereby has a duty to."


  1. shall

    Shall is a modal verb used to indicate a requirement, obligation, or necessity for someone to do something in the future. It typically expresses a firm intention or command in a formal manner.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Shall

    to owe; to be under obligation for

  2. Shall

    to be obliged; must

  3. Shall

    as an auxiliary, shall indicates a duty or necessity whose obligation is derived from the person speaking; as, you shall go; he shall go; that is, I order or promise your going. It thus ordinarily expresses, in the second and third persons, a command, a threat, or a promise. If the auxillary be emphasized, the command is made more imperative, the promise or that more positive and sure. It is also employed in the language of prophecy; as, "the day shall come when . . . , " since a promise or threat and an authoritative prophecy nearly coincide in significance. In shall with the first person, the necessity of the action is sometimes implied as residing elsewhere than in the speaker; as, I shall suffer; we shall see; and there is always a less distinct and positive assertion of his volition than is indicated by will. "I shall go" implies nearly a simple futurity; more exactly, a foretelling or an expectation of my going, in which, naturally enough, a certain degree of plan or intention may be included; emphasize the shall, and the event is described as certain to occur, and the expression approximates in meaning to our emphatic "I will go." In a question, the relation of speaker and source of obligation is of course transferred to the person addressed; as, "Shall you go?" (answer, "I shall go"); "Shall he go?" i. e., "Do you require or promise his going?" (answer, "He shall go".) The same relation is transferred to either second or third person in such phrases as "You say, or think, you shall go;" "He says, or thinks, he shall go." After a conditional conjunction (as if, whether) shall is used in all persons to express futurity simply; as, if I, you, or he shall say they are right. Should is everywhere used in the same connection and the same senses as shall, as its imperfect. It also expresses duty or moral obligation; as, he should do it whether he will or not. In the early English, and hence in our English Bible, shall is the auxiliary mainly used, in all the persons, to express simple futurity. (Cf. Will, v. t.) Shall may be used elliptically; thus, with an adverb or other word expressive of motion go may be omitted

  4. Etymology: [OE. shal, schal, imp. sholde, scholde, AS. scal, sceal, I am obliged, imp. scolde, sceolde, inf. sculan; akin to OS. skulan, pres. skal, imp. skolda, D. zullen, pres. zal, imp. zoude, zou, OHG. solan, scolan, pres. scal, sol. imp. scolta, solta, G. sollen, pres. soll, imp. sollte, Icel. skulu, pres. skal, imp. skyldi, SW. skola, pres. skall, imp. skulle, Dan. skulle, pres. skal, imp. skulde, Goth. skulan, pres. skal, imp. skulda, and to AS. scyld guilt, G. schuld guilt, fault, debt, and perhaps to L. scelus crime.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Shall

    shal, v.t. (obs.) to be under obligation: now only auxiliary, used in the future tense of the verb, whether a predictive or a promissive future (in the first person implying mere futurity; in the second and third implying authority or control on the part of the speaker, and expressing promise, command, or determination, or a certainty about the future. In the promissive future 'will' is used for the first person, and 'shall' for the second and third). [A.S. sceal, to be obliged; Ger. soll, Goth. skal, Ice. skal, to be in duty bound.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. SHALL

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Shall is ranked #59171 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Shall surname appeared 342 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Shall.

    87.4% or 299 total occurrences were White.
    5.5% or 19 total occurrences were Black.
    2.6% or 9 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    2% or 7 total occurrences were Asian.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'SHALL' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #500

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'SHALL' in Written Corpus Frequency: #355

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'SHALL' in Verbs Frequency: #108

How to pronounce SHALL?

How to say SHALL in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of SHALL in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of SHALL in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of SHALL in a Sentence

  1. Jesus:

    Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.

  2. Andrew Schneider:

    We hold in our hands, the most precious gift of all Freedom. The freedom to express our art. Our love. The freedom to be who we want to be. We are not going to give that freedom away and no one shall take it from us

  3. Stephen Gutowski:

    The text of the amendment is very plain. ‘ the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed ’ The amount of gaslighting people on the left use in regards to the Second Amendment is amazing, keep doesn't mean own. The people means the states.

  4. John Pirich:

    That's a mandatory requirement, the Michigan Supreme Court has been very clear that' shall' means' shall.' The Michigan Supreme Court's The Michigan Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court's ministerial. They have no choice.

  5. Sir Winston Churchill:

    From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I shall not put.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for SHALL

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"SHALL." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 19 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/SHALL>.

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    go on board
    A obligate
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