shaft: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (shaft, shäft), [key]
— n.
  1. a long pole forming the body of various weapons, as lances, halberds, or arrows.
  2. something directed or barbed as in sharp attack: shafts of sarcasm.
  3. a ray or beam: a shaft of sunlight.
  4. a long, comparatively straight handle serving as an important or balancing part of an implement or device, as of a hammer, ax, golf club, or other implement.
  5. a rotating or oscillating round, straight bar for transmitting motion and torque, usually supported on bearings and carrying gears, wheels, or the like, as a propeller shaft on a ship, or a drive shaft of an engine.
  6. a flagpole.
    1. that part of a column or pier between the base and capital. See diag. undercolumn.
    2. any distinct, slender, vertical masonry feature engaged in a wall or pier and usually supporting or feigning to support an arch or vault.
  7. a monument in the form of a column, obelisk, or the like.
  8. either of the parallel bars of wood between which the animal drawing a vehicle is hitched.
  9. any well-like passage or vertical enclosed space, as in a building: an elevator shaft.
  10. a vertical or sloping passageway leading to the surface.
  11. the trunk of a tree.
  12. the main stem or midrib of a feather.
  13. Also calledthe harness or warp with reference to the pattern of interlacing threads in weave constructions (usually used in combination): an eight-shaft satin.
  14. the part of a candelabrum that supports the branches.
  1. to push or propel with a pole: to shaft a boat through a tunnel.
  2. to treat in a harsh, unfair, or treacherous manner.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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