shelf

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Related to shelfs: target, IKEA, bookcases

top-shelf

1. Of a high, excellent, or superior quality. Jim was drinking top-shelf liquor all night on his birthday. I can't imagine the bar tab he must have racked up! My brother-in-law is always driving around town in the latest top-shelf car.
2. Of or containing pornography. Few realize that the newspaper mogul got his start by distributing top-shelf magazines to newsagents in the '70s.

shelf life

The length of time that something is viable or useful. Milk has a very short shelf life, as it tends to expire quickly. I'm hoping that this product will have a very long shelf life and be useful for years to come.
See also: life, shelf

put (one) on the shelf

To render someone unable or unavailable to do something. Sorry, I can't play in Saturday's game. My old knee injury flared up again and has put me on the shelf for a few weeks at least.
See also: on, put, shelf

put (something) on the shelf

To delay something or put it on hiatus. Once my wife became pregnant, I knew I had to put my plans of starting my own business on the shelf for a while.
See also: on, put, shelf

off the shelf

Ready made for purchase from available stock; not custom built or crafted. (Hyphenated if used before a noun.) We use our own custom software, so we can offer much more precision than what you can find off the shelf. While many off-the-shelf hearing aids are inexpensive, they are much more prone to failure than those prescribed by a doctor.
See also: off, shelf

on the shelf

1. Inactive, as in work or socially. I can't just go out and get a job—I've been on the shelf for nearly 30 years! I kept myself on the shelf throughout college. Now I really regret not being more outgoing and making friends.
2. In a state of postponement or suspension; rendered unavailable or unable to be used. We'll have to put this on the shelf until we get the fund necessary to complete it.
3. dated Of a woman, unmarried and unlikely to ever be due to her age. Potentially offensive. Primarily heard in UK. Afraid of being left on the shelf, Amy joined several online dating sites in the hopes of meeting someone.
See also: on, shelf

buy (something) off the shelf

To buy something that is ready made for purchase from available stock; to buy something that is not custom built or crafted. We use our own custom software, so we can offer much more precision than what you can buy off the shelf. Yeah, if you buy a hearing aid off the shelf, it'll be less expensive, but they are much more prone to failure than those prescribed by a doctor.
See also: buy, off, shelf

get (something) off the shelf

To obtain something that is ready made for purchase from available stock; to get something that is not custom built or crafted. We use our own custom software, so we can offer much more precision than what you can get off the shelf. Yeah, if you get a hearing aid off the shelf, it'll be less expensive, but they are much more prone to failure than those prescribed by a doctor.
See also: get, off, shelf

off the shelf

Fig. ready made for purchase; not custom-made. (Hyphenated when prenominal.) I generally buy off-the-shelf clothing. I am a perfect size eight.
See also: off, shelf

on the shelf

 
1. Fig. not active socially; left to oneself in social matters. (Alludes to being left or stored on a shelf.) I've been on the shelf long enough. I'm going to make some friends. She likes being on the shelf.
2. Fig. postponed. We'll have to put this matter on the shelf for a while. I have a plan on the shelf just waiting for an opportunity like this.
See also: on, shelf

off the shelf

Ready-made, available from merchandise or in stock, as opposed to a special order. For example, Sometimes you can get a better discount by buying an appliance off the shelf. [First half of 1900s] Also see off the rack; on the shelf.
See also: off, shelf

on the shelf

1. Inactive, not employed, as in With mandatory retirement at 65, many useful employees are put on the shelf. [Second half of 1500s]
2. In a state of disuse, as in We'll have to put her proposal on the shelf until we have more funds. [Late 1800s]
3. Without prospects of marriage. For example, After she broke her third engagement, her parents were sure she'd be on the shelf. This usage is always said of a woman and today considered offensive. It is probably obsolescent. [Early 1800s] All these usages allude to an article left on the shelf of a store, bookcase, or the like.
See also: on, shelf

on the shelf

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If a woman is on the shelf, she is not married and is now too old for men to want to marry her. I certainly don't worry that I'm on the shelf just because I'm single! You can't pretend you're keen on someone just because you're afraid of being left on the shelf. Note: Many people dislike this expression because of the sexist attitude which it represents.
See also: on, shelf

shelf life

If something has a particular shelf life, it will only last for that length of time, rather than continuing forever. A large proportion of small businesses have a very short shelf life. Our aim is to build a policy that will have a shelf life of more than 30 months. Note: The shelf life of a food, drink, or medicine is the length of time it can be kept before it is too old to sell or use.
See also: life, shelf

off the shelf

not designed or made to order but taken from existing stock or supplies.
See also: off, shelf

on the shelf

1 (of people or things) no longer useful or desirable. 2 (of a woman) past an age when she might expect to have the opportunity to marry. 3 (of a music recording or a film) awaiting release on the market after being recorded.
See also: on, shelf

buy, get, etc. something off the ˈshelf

buy, etc. something which is not made especially for somebody, and is found in an ordinary shop/store: Did they buy the computer system off the shelf or was it designed specially for them?
See also: off, shelf, something

on the ˈshelf

(informal)
1 (especially of women) not married and unlikely to marry because you are no longer young: Some women used to think they were on the shelf if they weren’t married at 30.
2 not wanted by anyone; not used: Unemployed people often feel they’ve been left on the shelf.
See also: on, shelf

off-the-shelf

mod. readily available; purchasable without any special difficulties or delays. This is just plain old off-the-shelf hand lotion. Isn’t it great?

on the shelf

1. mod. not active socially; left to oneself in social matters. I’ve been on the shelf long enough. I’m going to make some friends.
2. mod. postponed. (see also on the back burner.) We’ll have to put this matter on the shelf for a while.
See also: on, shelf

off the shelf

From ready-made merchandise in stock: supplies that were available off the shelf.
See also: off, shelf

on the shelf

1. In a state of disuse or inactivity: The injured goalie has been on the shelf for weeks.
2. Out of consideration: The finance bill is on the shelf until next year.
See also: on, shelf
References in classic literature ?
Marilla said there was enough for another dinner and told me to set it on the pantry shelf and cover it.
There on the shelf was a bottle which she at once recognized as one containing some of her three-year-old homemade currant wine for which she was celebrated in Avonlea, although certain of the stricter sort, Mrs.
Here he shook the pocket with the five sixpences in it, and Totty showed her teeth and wrinkled her nose in great glee; but, divining that there was nothing more to be got by staying, she jumped off the shelf and ran away to jingle her pocket in the hearing of Nancy, while her mother called after her, "Oh for shame, you naughty gell
and with this he ducked beneath the foliage, and slipping down the trunk, stood in a moment at least fifty feet beneath me, upon the broad shelf of rock from which sprung the tree he had descended.
I really thought that I was safe this time, for could I not see the drawers with their brass handles, the charming shelf for books, the pigeon-holes with their coverings of silk?
And Rose crept through the slide to the wide shelf on the other side, being too hurried and puzzled to go round by the door.
Others, such as Hormel's Top Shelf, international Lites, and Kraft's impromptu, are packaged to look like frozen foods.
ERS is a leading developer and supplier of electronic shelf labeling systems designed to improve retailer profitability.
ERS) (NASDAQ: ERSI) today announced the completion of its most recent installation of the ShelfNet(R) wireless, RF-based Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) system.