What does shall mean?

Definitions for shall
ʃæl; unstressed ʃəlshall

Here are all the possible meanings 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.

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.]

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. Lewis Carroll:

    'Where shall I begin, please your Majesty' he asked. 'Begin at the beginning,' the King said, gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end then stop.'

  2. Nicholas II of Russia:

    This is not a question of confidence or lack of it. It is my will. Remember that we live in Russia, not abroad... and therefore I shall not consider the possibility of any resignation.

  3. Hukum Singh Meena:

    The legislation is comprehensive and more than fair, we shall see that the law is rigorously applied and enforced.

  4. Alexander Pope:

    Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

  5. Jene Luciani:

    Those who are on the smaller side, shall we say, can go bra-less because it won’t hurt, and they won’t sag as much.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for shall

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    a defeat in which the losing person or team fails to score
    • A. arborolatry
    • B. impurity
    • C. abandon
    • D. whitewash

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