Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Mr. Milbrey glanced at the two shells of the orange which the butler was then removing.

Season the mixture with salt and pepper and fill the shells with it.

There were great heaps of shells by the sea where we came and dried fish and feasted.

The shells from the French artillery on the Roman Road are crashing into the wood.

Gather them while the shells are very soft, and rub them all with a flannel.

If used as shells they should be baked empty, and filled when cool.

It was the hardest of all things to wait, while shells now and then struck among them.

It was like listening to a child babbling of its hoard of shells.

Whew, that beats finding pearls in the shells of mussels all hollow!

His cannon flared on the dark horizon and the shells crashed in Vicksburg.


Old English sciell, scill, Anglian scell "seashell, eggshell," related to Old English scealu "shell, husk," from Proto-Germanic *skaljo "piece cut off; shell; scale" (cf. West Frisian skyl "peel, rind," Middle Low German schelle "pod, rind, egg shell," Gothic skalja "tile"), with the shared notion of "covering that splits off," from PIE root *(s)kel- (1) "to cut, cleave" (cf. Old Church Slavonic skolika "shell," Russian skala "bark, rind;" see scale (n.1)). Italian scaglia "chip" is from Germanic.

Sense of "mere exterior" is from 1650s; that of "hollow framework" is from 1791. Meaning "structure for a band or orchestra" is attested from 1938. Military use (1640s) was first of hand grenades, in reference to the metal case in which the gunpowder and shot were mixed; the notion is of a "hollow object" filled with explosives. Hence shell shock, first recorded 1915. Shell game "a swindle" is from 1890, from a version of three-card monte played with a pea and walnut shells.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.