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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a beam/ray/shaft of light (=a thin line of light)
▪ There was a shaft of light from the doorway.
a shaft/ray/beam of sunlight
▪ A shaft of sunlight illuminated the left side of his face.
drive shaft
▪ As soon as we arrived after our long pull from the valley, she would arrange to have the horse taken out of the shafts.
▪ But the shaft of light didn't waver.
▪ Inside, the tall nave is divided by piers with clustered shafts and foliated capitals.
▪ Looking up, he found he was standing under a short vertical shaft, at the top of which was another trapdoor.
▪ New clubs with special shafts have now been bought in an effort to prevent fresh trouble with the right wrist.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Shaft \Shaft\, n. [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. The slender, smooth stem of an arrow; hence, an arrow.

    His sleep, his meat, his drink, is him bereft, That lean he wax, and dry as is a shaft.

    A shaft hath three principal parts, the stele [stale], the feathers, and the head.

  2. 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.

    And the thunder, Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage, Perhaps hath spent his shafts.

    Some kinds of literary pursuits . . . have been attacked with all the shafts of ridicule.
    --V. Knox.

  3. That which resembles in some degree the stem or handle of an arrow or a spear; a long, slender part, especially when cylindrical. Specifically:

    1. (Bot.) The trunk, stem, or stalk of a plant.

    2. (Zo["o]l.) The stem or midrib of a feather. See Illust. of Feather.

    3. The pole, or tongue, of a vehicle; also, a thill.

    4. The part of a candlestick which supports its branches.

      Thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold . . . his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
      --Ex. xxv. 31.

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

    6. A pole, especially a Maypole. [Obs.]

    7. (Arch.) 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. [Obs. or R.]

    8. A column, an obelisk, or other spire-shaped or columnar monument.

      Bid time and nature gently spare The shaft we raise to thee.

    9. (Weaving) A rod at the end of a heddle.

    10. (Mach.) 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. See Illust. of Countershaft.

  4. (Zo["o]l.) 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.

  5. [Cf. G. schacht.] (Mining) A well-like excavation in the earth, perpendicular or nearly so, made for reaching and raising ore, for raising water, etc.

  6. A long passage for the admission or outlet of air; an air shaft.

  7. The chamber of a blast furnace.

    Line shaft (Mach.), a main shaft of considerable length, in a shop or factory, usually bearing a number of pulleys by which machines are driven, commonly by means of countershafts; -- called also line, or main line.

    Shaft alley (Naut.), a passage extending from the engine room to the stern, and containing the propeller shaft.

    Shaft furnace (Metal.), a furnace, in the form of a chimney, which is charged at the top and tapped at the bottom.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"long, narrow passage sunk into the earth," early 15c., probably from shaft (n.1) on notion of "long and cylindrical," perhaps as a translation of cognate Low German schacht in this sense (Grimm's suggestion, though OED is against it). Or it may represent a separate (unrecorded) development in Old English directly from Proto-Germanic *skaftaz if the original sense is "scrape, dig." The slang sense of shaft (n.1) is punned upon in country music song "She Got the Gold Mine, I Got the Shaft," a hit for Jerry Reed in 1982.


"treat cruelly and unfairly," by 1958, perhaps from shaft (n.1) with overtones of sodomy. Related: Shafted; shafting.


Old English sceaft "long, slender rod, staff, pole; spear-shaft; spear," from Proto-Germanic *skaftaz (cognates: Old Norse skapt, Old Saxon skaft, Old High German scaft, German schaft, Dutch schacht, not found in Gothic), which some connect with a Germanic passive past participle of PIE root *(s)kep- "to cut, to scrape" (source of Old English scafan "to shave, scrape, polish") on notion of "tree branch stripped of its bark." But compare Latin scapus "shaft, stem, shank," Greek skeptron "a staff" (see scepter) which appear to be cognates.\n

\nMeaning "beam or ray" (of light, etc.) is attested from c.1300. Sense of "an arrow" is from c.1400; that of "a handle" from 1520s. Mechanical sense is from 1680s. Vulgar slang meaning "penis" first recorded 1719 on notion of "columnar part" (late 14c.); hence probably shaft (v.) and the related noun sense "act of unfair treatment" (1959), though some early sources insist this is from the notion of a "wound."


n. 1 (lb en obsolete) The entire body of a long weapon, such as an arrow. 2 The long, narrow, central body of a spear, arrow, or javelin. 3 (lb en by extension) Anything cast or thrown as a spear or javelin. 4 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. vb. 1 (context transitive slang English) To fuck over; to cause harm to, especially through deceit or treachery. 2 (context transitive English) to equip with a shaft. 3 (context transitive slang English) To fuck; to have sexual intercourse with.

  1. v. equip with a shaft

  2. defeat someone in an expectation through trickery or deceit [syn: cheat, chouse, screw, chicane, jockey]

  1. n. a line that forms the length of an arrow pointer

  2. 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" [syn: shot, slam, dig, barb, jibe, gibe]

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

  4. a column of light (as from a beacon) [syn: beam, beam of light, light beam, ray, ray of light, shaft of light, irradiation]

  5. the main (mid) section of a long bone [syn: diaphysis]

  6. obscene terms for penis [syn: cock, prick, dick, pecker, peter, tool, putz]

  7. a long pointed rod used as a weapon [syn: spear, lance]

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

  9. (architecture) upright consisting of the vertical part of a column [syn: scape]

  10. a vertical passage into a mine

  11. a revolving rod that transmits power or motion [syn: rotating shaft]

  12. the hollow shaft of a feather [syn: quill, calamus]


Shaft may refer to:

Shaft (company)

is a Japanese animation studio founded on September 1, 1975 by Hiroshi Wakao. Ever since 2005 they began working exclusively with the director Akiyuki Shinbo, who is best known for his unique use of gags, references, and avant garde cinematography notably in Pani Poni Dash!, Maria Holic, Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei, Hidamari Sketch, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Nisekoi, Bakemonogatari, and Mekakucity Actors.

Shaft (1971 film)

Shaft is an American blaxploitation film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1971, written by Ernest Tidyman and John D. F. Black. Directed by Gordon Parks, Shaft is an action film about a private detective named John Shaft who was hired by a Harlem mobster to rescue his daughter from the Italian mobsters who kidnapped her. Shaft "is able successfully to negotiate the tensions of functioning in a white-dominated world while still portraying the sexploitive, aggressive, black macho image served up for consumption to young, urban black audiences." The movie stars Richard Roundtree as John Shaft, Moses Gunn as Bumpy Jonas, Charles Cioffi as Vic Androzzi, and Christopher St. John as Ben Buford. The major themes present in Shaft were Black Power, race, masculinity, and sexuality, and it was filmed within the New York City borough of Manhattan, specifically in Harlem, Greenwich Village, and Times Square. Shaft was one of the first blaxploitation films, and also one of the most popular, which "marked a turning point for this type of film, and spawned a number of sequels and knockoffs."

The Shaft soundtrack album, recorded by Isaac Hayes, was also a success, winning a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture; and a second Grammy that he shared with Johnny Allen for Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement; Grammy Award for Best Original Score; the " Theme from Shaft" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and has appeared on multiple Top 100 lists, including AFI's 100 Years…100 Songs.

Widely considered a prime example of the blaxploitation genre, Shaft was selected in 2000 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Shaft (golf)

The shaft of a golf club is the long, tapered tube which connects the golfer’s hands to the club head. While hundreds of different designs exist, the primary purpose of the golf shaft remains the same - to provide the player with a way to generate centrifugal force in order to effectively strike the ball. When properly gripped the player can hit the ball further and more accurately, whilst applying less force.

Shaft (comics)

Shaft (aka Jeff Terrel) is a comic book superhero created by writer-artist Rob Liefeld. In the early Nineties, Liefeld created the character for his Extreme Studios as leader of superhero team “ Youngblood”.

Shaft (2000 soundtrack)

Shaft is the soundtrack to the 2000 action film, Shaft. A mix of contemporary R&B and hip hop, it was released on June 6, 2000 through LaFace Records. The album peaked at number 22 on the Billboard 200 and number three on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The song "Bad Man", by R. Kelly, was released as a single. On July 11, 2000, the soundtrack was certified gold. The soundtrack also marks the earliest appearance of rapper T.I..

Shaft (civil engineering)

In civil engineering a shaft is an underground vertical or inclined passageway. Shafts are constructed for a number of reasons including:

  • For the construction of a tunnel
  • For ventilation of a tunnel or underground structure
  • As a drop shaft for a sewerage or water tunnel
  • For access to a tunnel or underground structure, also as an escape route
Shaft (novel)

Shaft is a 1970 detective novel by Ernest Tidyman. The novel inspired the 1971 film Shaft and subsequent film sequels.

Shaft (2000 film)

Shaft is a 2000 American action- thriller film directed by John Singleton, and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jeffrey Wright, Christian Bale, Pat Hingle, Toni Collette, Busta Rhymes, Vanessa L. Williams, and Mekhi Phifer. This film is not a remake of the 1971 film of the same name, but rather a sequel, therefore it is the fourth and final installment of the original series. An actual reboot was announced in February 2015. Jackson's John Shaft character is the nephew of the original John Shaft. The film received mainly positive reviews and opened at the number one position at the box office when it debuted June 16, 2000.

Shaft (TV series)

Shaft is a series of TV movies that aired along with Hawkins and other TV movies during 1973-74 television season on The New CBS Tuesday Night Movies. Broadcast every third week, the series was based on the three films beginning with Shaft (released in 1971), and starring Richard Roundtree as private detective John Shaft.

Because it was aired on over-the-air television, CBS felt that the characters needed to be toned down. Now instead of working against the police, he worked with them, possibly because it rotated with Hawkins, another high-quality series but with a starkly conflicting demographic, and was cancelled after one season. Contemporary analysts suggested that since the two shows—Shaft and Hawkins—appealed to vastly different audience bases, alternating them only served to confuse fans of both series, giving neither one the time to build up a large viewership. Richard Roundtree himself has publicly expressed his disdain for the small-screen version of Shaft.

Shaft (album)

Shaft is a double album by Isaac Hayes, recorded for Stax Records' Enterprise label as the soundtrack LP for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1971 Soul Cinema Classic film Shaft. The album mostly consists of instrumentals composed by Hayes as score for the film. Three vocal selections are included: "Soulsville", "Do Your Thing", and " Theme from Shaft". A commercial and critical success, Shaft is Hayes' best-known work and the best-selling LP ever released on a Stax label.

In 2014, the album was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Shaft (British band)

Shaft were a British electronic music production duo, known for their covers and remixes of " (Mucho Mambo) Sway" and " Mambo Italiano". Shaft peaked at No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart with their release of "(Mucho Mambo) Sway". The original version featured a vocal sample of Rosemary Clooney but Rizzo and Ireland were unable to clear the sample, so the vocal on the final track was sung by Claire Vaughan from Thurstonland, Huddersfield. They followed this with the release of " Mambo Italiano" which reached 12 in the UK chart. They went on to tour the world and win a gold disc for best performing group. Since then, they have recorded more songs such as "Kiri Riri Boom" and "Shake Seniora".

Shaft (club)

Shaft Rock Blues and Jazz Club is a blues and rock club in Istanbul, Turkey. Besides providing blues and jazz music which gives the place its name, it additionally offers a combination of rock music covers by famous Turkish musicians and a weekly free stage night for newcomer musicians. Its late night drinking and disco style entertainment is one of the few on the Anatolian side of Istanbul.

Its location in regional town and city centre Kadikoy has been a focus of some contribution to late night disorder in this area, prompting a recent zero tolerance approach to drunkenness in this licensed premise. It offers live music from 23:00 to 04:00, and has a busy dancefloor almost every night.

Shaft (Bernard Purdie album)

Shaft is an album led by jazz drummer Bernard Purdie which was recorded for the Prestige label in 1971.

Shaft (mechanical engineering)

A shaft is a rotating machine element, usually circular in cross section, which is used to transmit power from one part to another, or from a machine which produces power to a machine which absorbs power. The various members such as pulleys and gears are mounted on it.

Shaft (New Zealand band)

Shaft is the long-standing vehicle of songwriter Robert Cardy (aka Bob Brannigan), original guitarist for the band The Axemen and a stalwart of the New Zealand underground scene. When the Axemen took a break in 1992, Cardy was jamming with Axemen drummer Stu Kawowski for a while, and one day bumped into guitarist John Segovia at a gas station. Soon after Daniel "Speedy" Mañetto came on board as bass player. This original line-up stayed together for around a year or two, and then one by one Segovia, Mañetto and Kawowski departed. Cardy then put together a more hard-edged version of Shaft with Tony Rush (bass - moved to Wellington and joined The Users) and Rich Mixture (drums - joined The Rock'n'Roll Machine), with former Axel Grinders guitarist John Segovia (who left to form The Radio Kings) joining soon after. Since that time the lineup has changed considerably, with many members coming and going. The current lineup includes Cardy as well as all members of The Situations: Glen Casey (keys), Brad Walkington (guitar), Samuel Kett (bass) and Stuart Kett (drums).

Shaft (rave)

Shaft was a UK-based dance music act from Ilford, East London, that scored a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart in December 1991, with a rave track, " Roobarb and Custard". It featured vocal samples from the vintage children's television cartoon Roobarb, as well as a variety of sound effects. The main contributor was the British record producers, Mark Pritchard (born 28 November 1966) and Adrian Ribble (born 15 January 1964).

Although the single reached the Top 10 in 1991, it climbed to its highest position of No. 7 in January 1992. The follow-up track was "Monkey", which peaked at No. 61 in July 1992.

The use of samples from children's television programmes was not unique to this hit within the genre, with Mark Summers having sampled The Magic Roundabout in his early 1991 hit "Summers Magic". However, Shaft was the first dance act to reach the Top 10 with a track using this type of formula. Other bands who went on later in 1992 to repeat this success were Urban Hype, who reached the No. 7 with "A Trip to Trumpton", and Smart E's, who achieved No. 2 with "Sesame's Treet". The string of similarly created records were dubbed Toytown Techno.

Usage examples of "shaft".

Though gears still slipped, causing it to jerk forward momentarily with hideous grinding sounds, Jockey, Lizardo, Upquark and the Gamester managed to climb down its face, landing beside the opening to the Amphora service shaft.

The Dorje-men hurried to an alternate maintenance node and tried the shaft there, but at the Amphora junction they were engulfed in another avalanche.

The slender shafts supporting the arches are well grouped and contrasted.

An arcading with shafts and cusped arches runs along the base of the front, not quite reaching the exterior buttresses.

In a few moments more the fire just at one point became blinding, and in another second the sun emerged, the first arrowy shaft passed into her chamber, the first shadow was cast, and it was day.

The rods that thinly stripe our landscape, long shafts from the clouds, if we had but agility to make the arrowy downward journey with them by the glancing of our eyes, would be infinitely separate, units, an innumerable flight of single things, and the simple movement of intricate points.

Richard once again considered fucking her, simply to assuage the pain in his shaft, but decided against it.

Astragals, writhing and hanging heere and there, making the capitall thrise so big as the bottom thereof of the columne, wherevpon was placed the Epistile or streight beame, the greatest part decayed, and many columnes widowed and depriued of their Capitels, buryed in ruine both Astragals and shafts of the columnes and their bases or feete.

She had concluded that the shafts were astronomically aligned, she said, and that they had an astronomical function, because logic and evidence dictated that this was the case.

We are compelled to let several English sailors pass before us, decked out in their white drill clothes, fresh, fat, and pink, like little sugar figures, who attitudinize in a sheepish manner around the shafts of the columns.

Anyway, copious quantities of hydrogen gas were pouring from the shaft maw, coming from the rent where the unfortunate brown man had fallen into a ballonet and suffocated.

Inca ordered the mine shafts to be sealed, and banned any references to mercury in public.

Considering she had managed to conquer an initial squeamishness at the sight of blood, she felt oddly disturbed at the prospect of some wild creature dying, impaled on one of those barbless, sharpened shafts.

The top of the shaft was battlemented, and she caught splashes of color between the teeth of the stone scarps, as if flowers were massed there and spilling blossoms against the whiteness of the tower.

Mercia grabbed the shaft of the lance and lashed out with a cruel kick, catching his bellicose comrade on the point of the chin.