Shell - definition, pronunciation, transcription

Amer.  |ʃel|  American pronunciation of the word shell
Brit.  |ʃel|  British pronunciation of the word shell


- ammunition consisting of a cylindrical metal casing containing an explosive charge and a projectile; fired from a large gun
- the material that forms the hard outer covering of many animals
- hard outer covering or case of certain organisms such as arthropods and turtles (syn: carapace, cuticle, shield)
- the hard usually fibrous outer layer of some fruits especially nuts
- the exterior covering of a bird's egg (syn: eggshell)
- a rigid covering that envelops an object
the satellite is covered with a smooth shell of ice
- a very light narrow racing boat
- the housing or outer covering of something (syn: case, casing)
- a metal sheathing of uniform thickness (such as the shield attached to an artillery piece to protect the gunners) (syn: plate, scale)
- the hard largely calcareous covering of a mollusc or a brachiopod


- use explosives on (syn: blast)
The enemy has been shelling us all day
- create by using explosives (syn: blast)
- fall out of the pod or husk
The corn shelled
- hit the pitches of hard and regularly
He shelled the pitcher for eight runs in the first inning
- look for and collect shells by the seashore
- come out better in a competition, race, or conflict (syn: beat, beat out, crush, trounce, vanquish)
- remove from its shell or outer covering
shell the legumes
shell mussels
- remove the husks from (syn: husk)

Extra examples

We collected shells at the beach.

We're going to have stuffed shells for dinner.

They shelled the enemy troops.

The town was shelled during the battle.

They cracked the nuts and removed their shells.

He was a shell of the man he had been previously.

Her normally shy son has come out of his shell.

Our artillery was lobbing shells into enemy positions.

An arch is a curved shell of firm materials.

A dim mist shelled the god.

Never buy eggs with cracked shells.

The children were collecting shells on the beach.

We ran for cover as shells dropped all around us.

The army has been shelling the town since yesterday.

Josie was shelling peas in the kitchen.

Phrasal verbs

shell out  — administer or bestow, as in small portions

Word forms

I/you/we/they: shell
he/she/it: shells
present participle: shelling
past tense: shelled
past participle: shelled
singular: shell
plural: shells
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