Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

shaft - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable] shaft pronunciation in British English /ʃɑːft/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    the main part of something long and thin, not including the end

    the shaft of an arrow

    1. a.
      the handle of a tool
    2. b.
      a metal bar in an engine that causes a part to move when another part moves
    3. c.
  2. 2
    a long narrow passage, for example one that leads from the surface of the ground down to a mine
  3. 3
    literary a long thin line of light
  4. 4
    literary a clever remark, often one that offends or insults someone
  5. 5
    literary an arrow

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play