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The act of stealing sheep.

SHEEP-WALK, n. [sheep and walk.]

Pasture for sheep; a place where sheep feed. – Milton.

SHEER, a. [Sax. scir, scyr; G. schier; Dan. skier; Sans. charu, tscharu; from the root of shear, to separate; whence sheer is clear, pure. It might be deduced from the Shemitic זהר, to be clear; Eth. ጸርየ, to be clean or pure. But the Danish and Saxon orthography coincides with that of Shear.]

  1. Pure; clear; separate from any thing foreign; unmingled; as, sheer ale. But this application is unusual. – Shak. We say, sheer argument, sheer wit, sheer falsehood, &c.
  2. Clear; thin; as, sheer muslin.

SHEER, adv.

Clean; quite; at once. [Obs.] – Milton.


  1. The longitudinal curve or bend of a ship's deck or sides.
  2. The position in which a ship is sometimes kept at single anchor, to keep her clear of it. To break sheer, to deviate from that position and risk fouling the anchor. – Mar. Dict.

SHEER, v.i. [See Shear, the sense of which is to separate.]

  1. In seamen's language, to decline or deviate from the line of the proper course, as a ship when not steered with steadiness. – Mar. Dict.
  2. To slip or move aside. To sheer off, to turn or move aside to a distance. To sheer up, to turn and approach to a place or ship.

SHEER, v.t.

To shear. [Not in use.] – Dryden.


An old ship of war, fitted with sheers or apparatus to fix or take out the masts of other ships. – Mar. Dict.

SHEER-LY, adv.

At once; quite; absolutely. [Obs.] – Beaum.

SHEERS, n. [plur.]

An engine consisting of two or more pieces of timber or poles, fastened together near the top; used for raising heavy weights, particularly for hoisting the lower masts of ships. – Mar. Dict.

SHEET, n.1 [Sax. sceat, sceta, scyta; L. scheda; Gr. σχεδη. The Saxon sceat signifies a garment, a cloth, towel, or napkin; sceta is rendered a sheet, and the Greek and Latin words signify a table or plate for writing on; from the root of Sax. sceadian, to separate, L. scindo, Gr. σχιζω.]

  1. A broad piece of cloth used as a part of bed-furniture.
  2. A broad piece of paper as it comes from the manufacturer. Sheets of paper are of different sizes, as royal, demi, foolscap, pot, and post-paper.
  3. A piece of paper printed, folded, and bound, or formed into a book in blank, and making four, eight, sixteen, or twenty-four pages, &c.
  4. Any thing expanded; as, a sheet of water or of fire; a sheet of copper, lead, or iron.
  5. Sheets, plur. a book or pamphlet. The following sheets contain a full answer to my opponent.
  6. A sail.

SHEET, n.2 [Fr. ecoute; Sp. and Port. escota; It. scotte. This word seems to be connected with scot or shot; Sp. escotar, to cut out clothes, to pay one's scot or share of taxes, and in nautical language, to free a ship of water by pumping. The word is probably from that root, or from shoot.]

In nautical language, a rope fastened to one or both the lower-corners of a sail to extend and retain it in a particular situation. When a ship sails with a side-wind, the lower corners of the main and fore-sails are fastened with a tack and a sheet. – Mar. Dict.

SHEET, v.t.

  1. To furnish with sheets. [Little used.]
  2. To fold in a sheet. [Little used.] – Shak.
  3. To cover as with a sheet; to cover with something broad and thin. When snow the pasture sheets. – Shak. To sheet home, is to haul home a sheet, or extend the sail till the clew is close to the sheet-block.


  1. The largest anchor of a ship, which in stress of weather is sometimes the seaman's last refuge to prevent the ship from going ashore. Hence,
  2. The chief support; the last refuge for safety.


Copper in broad, thin plates.


Cloth for sheets.


Iron in sheets or broad, thin plates.


Lead in sheets.


In Egypt, a person who has the care of a mosk; a kind of priest. – Encyc.

SHEK'EL, n. [Heb. שקל, to weigh; Ch. Syr. Ar. and Eth. id.; Eth. to append or suspend; Low L. siclus; Fr. sicle. From this root we have shilling. Payments were originally made by weight, as they still are in some countries. See Pound.]

An ancient weight and coin among the Jews and other nations of the same stock. Dr. Arbuthnot makes the weight to have been equal to 9 pennyweights 2 4/7 grains, Troy weight, and the value 2s. 3 3/8d. sterling, or about half a dollar. Others make its value 2s. 6d. sterling. The golden shekel was worth £1 16s. 6d. sterling, about $8, 12. – Encyc.


In the Jewish theology, the divine presence resting, like a cloud, over the propitiatory or mercy seat.


or SHELD'A-PLE n. A chaffinch. – Johnson. This word is also written Shell-apple. – Ed. Encyc.


An aquatic fowl of the duck kind, the Anas tadorno. It has a greenish black head, and its body is variegated with white. – Encyc.


A species of wild duck. – Mortimer.

SHELF, n. [plur. Shelves. Sax. scylf, whence scylfan, to shelve, Fr. ecueil, a sand-bank.]

  1. A platform of boards or planks, elevated above the floor, aud fixed or set on a frame or contiguous to a wall, for holding vessels, utensils, books and the like.
  2. A sand-bank in the sea, or a rock or ledge of rocks, rendering the water shallow and dangerous to ships.
  3. In mining, fast ground; that part of the internal structure of the earth which lies in an even, regular form. – Encyc.