1. A long thin object or part, as:
a. The long narrow stem or body of a spear or arrow.
b. A spear or arrow.
c. The handle of any of various tools or implements.
d. One of two parallel poles between which an animal is harnessed to a vehicle.
e. A long, generally cylindrical bar that rotates and transmits power, as the drive shaft of an engine.
2. Zoology The main axis of a feather, especially its distal portion.
a. The midsection of a long bone; the diaphysis.
b. The section of a hair projecting from the surface of the body.
c. The body of the clitoris, extending from the root to the glans.
d. The body of the penis, extending from the root to the glans.
a. A column or obelisk.
b. The principal portion of a column, between the capital and the base.
5. Something suggestive of a spear or arrow in appearance or configuration, as:
a. A ray or beam of light.
b. A bolt of lightning.
a. A long, narrow, often vertical passage sunk into the earth, as for mining ore; a tunnel.
b. A vertical passage housing an elevator.
c. A duct or conduit for the passage of air, as for ventilation or heating.
7. The upright portion of a boot that covers the leg.
a. A scornful or sarcastic remark; a barb.
b. Slang Harsh, unfair treatment. Often used with the: The management gave the unions the shaft.
9. Vulgar Slang A penis.
tr.v. shaft·ed, shaft·ing, shafts
1. To equip with a shaft.
2. Slang To treat in a harsh, unfair way: "He had been shafted by the press quite a bit" (Frank Deford).
3. Slang To penetrate (someone) sexually.
[Middle English, from Old English sceaft.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus