Dictionary: SHIELD – SHI'LY

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SHIELD, n. [Sax. scyld; Sw. sköld; Dan. skiold, skildt; D. and G. schild. This word is from covering, defending, Sw. skyla, to cover; or from separating, Sax. scylan, Dan. skiller, to separate. Protection is deduced from either, and indeed both may be radically one. See Shelter. The L. scutum coincides in elements with the Sax. sceadan, to separate, and clypeus with the Gr. καλυπτω, to cover.]

  1. A broad piece of defensive armor; a buckler; used in war for the protection of the body. The shields of the ancients were of different shapes and sizes, triangular, square, oval, &c., made of leather, or wood covered with leather, and borne on the left arm. This species of armor was a good defense against arrows, darts, spears, &c. but would be no protection against bullets.
  2. Defense; shelter; protection; or the person that defends or protects; as a chief, the ornament and shield of the nation. Fear not, Abram; I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. – Gen. xv.
  3. In heraldry, the escutcheon or field on which are placed the bearings in coats of arms.

SHIELD, v.t.

  1. To cover, as with a shield; to cover from danger; to defend; to protect; to secure from assault or injury. To see the son the vanquished father shield. – Dryden. Hear one that comes to shield his injur'd honor. – Smith.
  2. To ward off; to defend against; as, clothes to shield one from cold.


Covered, as with a shield; defended; protected.


Covering, as with a shield; defending from attack or injury; protecting.


Destitute of a shield or of protection.


Without protection.


Destitution of a shield or of protection.


  1. A change; a turning from one thing to another; hence, an expedient tried in difficulty; one thing tried whey another fails. I'll find a thousand shifts to get away. Shak.
  2. In a bad sense, mean refuge; last resource. For little souls on little shifts rely. Dryden.
  3. Fraud; artifice; expedient to effect a bad purpose; or, an evasion; a trick to escape detection or evil. Hooker. South.
  4. A woman's under garment; a chemise.

SHIFT, v.i. [Sax. scyftan, to order or appoint, to divide or distribute, also to verge or decline, also to drive; D. schifyen, to divide, distinguish, part, turn, discuss; Dan. skifte, a parting, sharing, division, lot, share; skifter, to part, share, divide; Sw. skifta, to shift, to distribute. This verb is apparently from the same root as shiver; Dan. skifer sig, to shiver; Sw. skifta om, to change. The primary sense is to move, to depart; hence to separate. We observe by the Swedish, that skifta om, (om, about or round,) was originally the true phrase, to move about or round; and we still say, to shift about.]

  1. To move; to change place or position. Vegetables are not able to shift and seek nutriment. Woodward.
  2. To change its direction; to vary; as, the wind shifted from south to west.
  3. To change; to give place to other things. – Locke.
  4. To change clothes, particularly the under garment or chemise. – Young.
  5. To resort to expedients for a livelihood, or for accomplishing a purpose; to move from one thing to another, and seize one expedient when another fails. Men in distress wilt look to themselves, and leave their paniuns to shift as well as they can. L'Estrange.
  6. To practice indirect methods. Ralegh.
  7. To seek methods of safety. Nature teaches every creature how to shift for itself in eases of danger. L'Estrange.
  8. To change place; as, a cargo shifts from one side to the other.

SHIFT, v.t.

  1. To change; to alter; as, to shift the scenes.
  2. To transfer from one place or position to another; as, shift the helm; shift the sails.
  3. To put out of the way by some expedient. I shifted him away. Shak.
  4. To change, as clothes; as, to shill a coat.
  5. To dress in fresh clothes. Let him have time to shift himself. To shift about, to turn quite round, to a contrary side or opposite point. To shift off, to delay; to defer; as, to shift off the duties of religion. Rogers. #2. To put away; to disengage or disencumber one's self, as of a burden or inconvenience.


Changed from one place or position to another.


  1. One that shifts; the person that plays tricks or practices artifice.
  2. In ships, a person employed to assist the ship's cook in washing, steeping and shifting the salt provisions.


Act of shifting.


Changing place or position; resorting from one expedient to another.


By shifts and changes; deceitfully.


Destitute of expedients, or not resorting to successful expedients; wanting means to act or live; as, a shiftless fellow.


In a shiftless manner.


A state of being shiftless.

SHILF, n. [G. schilf, sedge.]

Straw. Tooke.


To shell, not in use.

SHILL, v.t.

To put under cover; to sheal. [Not in use or local.]

SHIL'LING, n. [Sax. scill, scilling; G. schilling; D. schelling; Sw. and Dan. skilling; Fr. escalin; It. scellino; Sp. chelin; Port. xelim; from the Oriental שקל shakal, to weigh. See Shekel.]

An English silver coin equal to twelve pence, or the twentieth part of a pound. The English shilling, or shilling sterling, is equivalent nearly to 22 cents 22 hundredths, money of the United States. Our ancestors introduced the name with the coin into this country, but by depreciation the value of the shilling sunk in New England and Virginia one fourth, or to a fraction less than 17 cents, in New York to 12 ½ cents, in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, to about 11 cents. This denomination of money still subsists in the United States, although there is no coin of that value current, except the Spanish coin of 12 ½ cents, which is a shilling in the money of the state of New York. Since the adoption of the present cent coins of the United States, eagles, dollars, dimes, cents &c. the use of shilling is continued only by habit.

SHIL'LY-SHAL-LY, n. [Russ. shalyu, to be foolish, to play the fool, to play wanton tricks.]

Foolish trifling; irresolution. [Vulgar.] [This word has probably been written Shill-I-shall-I, from an ignorance of its origin.]

SHI'LOH, n. [Heb.]

The name given to the Messiah by Jacob. – Gen. xlix. 10.

SHI'LY, adv. [See SHYLY.]