What does shaft mean?

Definitions for shaft
ʃæft, ʃɑftshaft

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. shaftnoun

    a line that forms the length of an arrow pointer

  2. shot, shaft, slam, dig, barb, jibe, gibenoun

    an aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect

    "his parting shot was `drop dead'"; "she threw shafts of sarcasm"; "she takes a dig at me every chance she gets"

  3. shaftnoun

    a long rod or pole (especially the handle of an implement or the body of a weapon like a spear or arrow)

  4. beam, beam of light, light beam, ray, ray of light, shaft, shaft of light, irradiationnoun

    a column of light (as from a beacon)

  5. diaphysis, shaftnoun

    the main (mid) section of a long bone

  6. cock, prick, dick, shaft, pecker, peter, tool, putznoun

    obscene terms for penis

  7. spear, lance, shaftnoun

    a long pointed rod used as a tool or weapon

  8. shaftnoun

    a vertical passageway through a building (as for an elevator)

  9. shaft, scapenoun

    (architecture) upright consisting of the vertical part of a column

  10. shaftnoun

    a long vertical passage sunk into the earth, as for a mine or tunnel

  11. rotating shaft, shaftnoun

    a revolving rod that transmits power or motion

  12. quill, calamus, shaftverb

    the hollow spine of a feather

  13. shaftverb

    equip with a shaft

  14. cheat, chouse, shaft, screw, chicane, jockeyverb

    defeat someone through trickery or deceit


  1. shaftnoun

    The long narrow body of a spear or arrow

    Her hand slipped off the javelin's shaft towards the spearpoint and that's why her score was lowered, Sam.

  2. shaftnoun

    A beam or ray of light

    Isn't that shaft of light from that opening in the cave beautiful?

  3. shaftnoun

    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.

    Dude, the baseball bat's shaft got broken by the amazing pitch!

  4. shaftnoun

    The main axis of a feather

    I had no idea that they removed the feathers' shafts to make the pillows softer!

  5. shaftnoun

    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!

  6. shaftnoun

    A long narrow passage sunk into the earth, for mining etc; a mineshaft.

    Your grandfather used to work with a crane hauling ore out of the gold mine's shafts.

  7. shaftnoun

    A vertical or near-vertical cave passage.

  8. shaftnoun

    A vertical passage housing a lift or elevator; a liftshaft.

    Darn it, my keys fell through the gap and into the elevator shaft.

  9. shaftnoun

    A ventilation or heating conduit; an air duct.

    Our parrot flew into the air duct and got stuck in the shaft.

  10. shaftverb

    to equip something with a shaft

  11. shaftverb

    To have sexual intercourse with someone

    Turns out my best mate was shafting my girlfriend.

  12. shaftverb

    To cause someone harm, especially in a deceitful or treacherous way.

    He got shafted when his boss took credit for what he had done.

  13. shaftnoun

    A malicious act, as in to give someone the shaft

    That guy at work gave me the shaft, he ratted me out to the boss for being late!

  14. shaftnoun

    The main cylindrical part of the penis

  15. Etymology: sceaft, from Germanic skaftaz. Cognate with Dutch schacht, German Schaft, Swedish skaft.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Shaftnoun

    Etymology: sceaft , Saxon.

    To pierce pursuing shield,
    By parents train’d, the Tartars wild are taught,
    With shafts shot out from their back-turned bow. Philip Sidney.

    Who in the spring, from the new sun,
    Already has a fever got,
    Too late begins those shafts to shun,
    Which Phœbus thro’ his veins has shot. Edmund Waller.

    They are both the archer and shaft taking aim afar off, and then shooting themselves directly upon the desired mark. More.

    So lofty was the pile, a Parthian bow
    With vigour drawn, must send the shaft below. Dryd.

    O’er thee the secret shaft
    That wastes at midnight, or th’undreaded hour
    Of noon, flies harmless. James Thomson.

    They sink a shaft or pit of six foot in length. Carew.

    The fulminating damp, upon its accension, gives a crack like the report of a gun, and makes an explosion so forcible as to kill the miners, and force bodies of great weight from the bottom of the pit up through the shaft. John Woodward.

    Suppose a tube, or as the miners call it, a shaft, were sunk from the surface of the earth to the center. Arbuthnot.

    Practise to draw small and easy things, as a cherry with the leaf, the shaft of a steeple. Henry Peacham.


  1. Shaft

    "Theme from Shaft, written and recorded by Isaac Hayes in 1971, is the soul and funk-styled theme song to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film Shaft. The theme was released as a single (shortened and edited from the longer album version) two months after the movie's soundtrack by Stax Records' Enterprise label. "Theme from Shaft" went to number two on the Billboard Soul Singles chart (behind "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" by Marvin Gaye) and to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in November 1971. The song was also well received by adult audiences, reaching number six on Billboard's Easy Listening chart. The song is considered by some to be one of the first disco songs. The following year, "Theme from Shaft" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, with Hayes becoming the first African American to win that honor – or any Academy Award in a non-acting category – as well as the first recipient of the award to both write and perform the winning song. Since then, the song has appeared in numerous television shows, commercials, and other movies, including the 2000 sequel Shaft, for which Hayes re-recorded the song. In 2004 the original finished at #38 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top songs in American cinema.


  1. shaft

    A shaft is a long, cylindrical structure, usually made of metal or other strong materials, that is used to transmit power or to enable relative movement between two or more mechanical parts. In machinery, it typically rotates and transfers motion or torque from one part to another. In terms of construction or architecture, a shaft can also refer to a vertical passage used for transportation of people, ventilation, or conveying of goods.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Shaftnoun

    the slender, smooth stem of an arrow; hence, an arrow

  2. Shaftnoun

    the long handle of a spear or similar weapon; hence, the weapon itself; (Fig.) anything regarded as a shaft to be thrown or darted; as, shafts of light

  3. Shaftnoun

    that which resembles in some degree the stem or handle of an arrow or a spear; a long, slender part, especially when cylindrical

  4. Shaftnoun

    the trunk, stem, or stalk of a plant

  5. Shaftnoun

    the stem or midrib of a feather

  6. Shaftnoun

    the pole, or tongue, of a vehicle; also, a thill

  7. Shaftnoun

    the part of a candlestick which supports its branches

  8. Shaftnoun

    the handle or helve of certain tools, instruments, etc., as a hammer, a whip, etc

  9. Shaftnoun

    a pole, especially a Maypole

  10. Shaftnoun

    the body of a column; the cylindrical pillar between the capital and base (see Illust. of Column). Also, the part of a chimney above the roof. Also, the spire of a steeple

  11. Shaftnoun

    a column, an obelisk, or other spire-shaped or columnar monument

  12. Shaftnoun

    a rod at the end of a heddle

  13. Shaftnoun

    a solid or hollow cylinder or bar, having one or more journals on which it rests and revolves, and intended to carry one or more wheels or other revolving parts and to transmit power or motion; as, the shaft of a steam engine

  14. Shaftnoun

    a humming bird (Thaumastura cora) having two of the tail feathers next to the middle ones very long in the male; -- called also cora humming bird

  15. Shaftnoun

    a well-like excavation in the earth, perpendicular or nearly so, made for reaching and raising ore, for raising water, etc

  16. Shaftnoun

    a long passage for the admission or outlet of air; an air shaft

  17. Shaftnoun

    the chamber of a blast furnace

  18. Etymology: [OE. shaft, schaft, AS. sceaft; akin to D. schacht, OHG. scaft, G. schaft, Dan. & Sw. skaft handle, haft, Icel. skapt, and probably to L. scapus, Gr. , , a staff. Probably originally, a shaven or smoothed rod. Cf. Scape, Scepter, Shave.]


  1. Shaft

    Shaft, Inc. is a Japanese animation studio founded on September 1, 1975 by Hiroshi Wakao. They are best known for their unique use of gags and references notably in Pani Poni Dash!, Maria Holic, Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei, Hidamari Sketch, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Bakemonogatari series.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Shaft

    shaft, n. anything long and straight, as the stem of an arrow, &c.: a long arrow, anything like an arrow in form or effect: the part of a column between the base and capital: the stem of a feather: the pole or thill of a carriage: the handle of a tool of any kind.—adj. Shaft′ed, having a shaft or handle.—ns. Shaft′-horse, the horse that is harnessed between the shafts of a carriage; Shaft′ing (mach.), the system of shafts connecting machinery with the prime mover.—Make a shaft or a bolt of it (Shak.), to take the risk and make the best of it—the shaft and the bolt being the arrows of the long-bow and the cross-bow respectively. [A.S. sceaft; prob. orig. pa.p. of scafan, to shave.]

  2. Shaft

    shaft, n. a well-like excavation sunk into a mine for pumping, hoisting, &c.: the tunnel of a blast-furnace. [Prob. in this sense from Ger. schacht, a shaft; cog. with foregoing.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. shaft

    A body of a long, cylindrical shape; a stem, stalk, trunk, or the like. Hence, the stem of an arrow, upon which the feather and head are inserted; hence, an arrow; a missile weapon. Also, the handle of a weapon; as, the shaft of a spear. It likewise means a perpendicular excavation into the earth for the purpose of mining.

Suggested Resources

  1. shaft

    Song lyrics by shaft -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by shaft on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. SHAFT

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Shaft is ranked #51176 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Shaft surname appeared 407 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Shaft.

    95% or 387 total occurrences were White.
    1.7% or 7 total occurrences were Black.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shaft' in Nouns Frequency: #2601

How to pronounce shaft?

How to say shaft in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of shaft in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of shaft in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of shaft in a Sentence

  1. Chief Executive Gregory Hayes:

    You don't want to start that jet engine up with a shaft that's bent, even if we're talking about 5/10,000ths of an inch, you do three minutes of windmilling operation to cool the entire hot section of the aircraft down to the same temperature.

  2. The US Navy:

    When pumping begins, up to 5 million gallons a day of water will be pumped from the Red Hill Shaft.

  3. Aesop:

    The shaft of the arrow had been feathered with one of the eagle's own plumes. We often give our enemies the means of our own destruction.

  4. Sir Walter Scott:

    O many a shaft, at random sent, Finds mark the archer little meant And many a word, at random spoken, May soothe or wound a heart that's broken

  5. Costica Maroleanu:

    The member was black, and the only remaining skin was at the base of the shaft and highly infectious.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for shaft

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"shaft." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/shaft>.

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    easily diffused or spread as from one person to another
    A ravening
    B soft-witted
    C contagious
    D unsealed

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