shell ( shells plural & 3rd person present) ( shelling present participle) ( shelled past tense & past participle )
1 n-count The shell of a nut or egg is the hard covering which surrounds it.
They cracked the nuts and removed their shells...
Shell is the substance that a shell is made of., n-uncount
...beads made from ostrich egg shell.
2 n-count The shell of an animal such as a tortoise, snail, or crab is the hard protective covering that it has around its body or on its back.
3 n-count Shells are hard objects found on beaches. They are usually pink, white, or brown and are the coverings which used to surround small sea creatures.
I collect shells and interesting seaside items., ...sea shells.
4 verb If you shell nuts, peas, prawns, or other food, you remove their natural outer covering.
She shelled and ate a few nuts. V n
...shelled prawns. V-ed
5 n-count If someone comes out of their shell, they become more friendly and interested in other people and less quiet, shy, and reserved.
usu poss N
Her normally shy son had come out of his shell.
6 n-count The shell of a building, boat, car, or other structure is the outside frame of it.
usu with supp
...the shells of burned buildings...
7 n-count A shell is a weapon consisting of a metal container filled with explosives that can be fired from a large gun over long distances.
8 verb To shell a place means to fire explosive shells at it. The rebels shelled the densely-populated suburbs near the port. V n
shelling ( shellings plural) n-var Out on the streets, the shelling continued. shell out phrasal verb If you shell out for something, you spend a lot of money on it. INFORMAL
(=fork out) You won't have to shell out a fortune for it... V P n for/on n ...an insurance premium which saves you from having to shell out for repairs... V P for/on n
shell company ( shell companies plural ) A shell company is a company that another company takes over in order to use its name to gain an advantage. (BUSINESS) n-count
shell program ( shell programs plural ) A shell program is a basic computer program that provides a framework within which the user can develop the program to suit their own needs. (COMPUTING) n-count
shell shock , shell-shock
Shell shock is the confused or nervous mental condition of people who have been under fire in a war. n-uncount
The men were suffering from shell shock.
shell-shocked , shell shocked
1 adj If you say that someone is shell-shocked, you mean that they are very shocked, usually because something bad has happened.
We were shell-shocked when Chelsea took the lead., ...shell-shocked investors.
2 adj If someone is shell-shocked, they have a confused or nervous mental condition as a result of a shocking experience such as being in a war or an accident.
...a shell-shocked war veteran.
shell suit ( shell suits plural ) , shell-suit A shell suit is a casual suit which is made of thin nylon. n-count
...someone in a shell suit from Stirchley.