n. & v.
1 a the hard outer case of many marine molluscs (cockle shell). b the esp. hard but fragile outer covering of a bird's, reptile's, etc. egg. c the usu. hard outer case of a nut-kernel, seed, etc. d the carapace of a tortoise, turtle, etc. e the wing-case or pupa-case of many insects etc.
2 a an explosive projectile or bomb for use in a big gun or mortar. b a hollow metal or paper case used as a container for fireworks, explosives, cartridges, etc. c US a cartridge.
3 a mere semblance or outer form without substance.
4 any of several things resembling a shell in being an outer case, esp.: a a light racing-boat. b a hollow pastry case. c the metal framework of a vehicle body etc. d the walls of an unfinished or gutted building, ship, etc. e an inner or roughly-made coffin. f a building shaped like a conch. g the handguard of a sword.
5 a group of electrons with almost equal energy in an atom.
1 tr. remove the shell or pod from.
2 tr. bombard (a town, troops, etc.) with shells.
3 tr. provide or cover with a shell or shells.
4 intr. (usu. foll. by off) (of metal etc.) come off in scales.
5 intr. (of a seed etc.) be released from a shell.
Phrases and idioms:
come out of one's shell cease to be shy; become communicative. shell-bit a gouge-shaped boring bit. shell company an unimportant firm made the subject of a take-over bid because of its status on the Stock Exchange etc. shell egg an egg still in its shell, not dried etc. shell-heap (or -mound) hist. a kitchen midden. shell-jacket an army officer's tight-fitting undress jacket reaching to the waist. shell-lime fine quality lime produced by burning sea shells. shell-money shells used as a medium of exchange, e.g. wampum. shell out (also absol.) colloq.
1 pay (money).
2 hand over (a required sum).
shell-out n.
1 the act of shelling out.
2 a game of snooker etc. played by three or more people. shell-pink a delicate pale pink. shell-shock a nervous breakdown resulting from exposure to battle. shell-shocked suffering from shell-shock. shell-work ornamentation consisting of shells cemented on to wood etc.
shelled adj. shell-less adj. shell-like adj. shellproof adj. (in sense 2a of n.). shelly adj.
Etymology: OE sc(i)ell f. Gmc: cf. SCALE(1)

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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