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3 definitions found
 for shaft
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Shaft \Shaft\, n. [OE. shaft, schaft, AS. sceaft; akin to D.
     schacht, OHG. scaft, G. schaft, Dan. & Sw. skaft handle,
     haft, Icel. skapt, and probably to L. scapus, Gr. ????, ????,
     a staff. Probably originally, a shaven or smoothed rod. Cf.
     Scape, Scepter, Shave.]
     1. The slender, smooth stem of an arrow; hence, an arrow.
        [1913 Webster]
              His sleep, his meat, his drink, is him bereft,
              That lean he wax, and dry as is a shaft. --Chaucer.
        [1913 Webster]
              A shaft hath three principal parts, the stele
              [stale], the feathers, and the head.  --Ascham.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. The long handle of a spear or similar weapon; hence, the
        weapon itself; (Fig.) anything regarded as a shaft to be
        thrown or darted; as, shafts of light.
        [1913 Webster]
              And the thunder,
              Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage,
              Perhaps hath spent his shafts.        --Milton.
        [1913 Webster]
              Some kinds of literary pursuits . . . have been
              attacked with all the shafts of ridicule. --V. Knox.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. That which resembles in some degree the stem or handle of
        an arrow or a spear; a long, slender part, especially when
        cylindrical. Specifically: (a) (Bot.) The trunk, stem, or
        stalk of a plant.
        (b) (Zool.) The stem or midrib of a feather. See Illust.
            of Feather.
        (c) The pole, or tongue, of a vehicle; also, a thill.
        (d) The part of a candlestick which supports its branches.
            [1913 Webster]
                  Thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold . . .
                  his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his
                  knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
                                                    --Ex. xxv. 31.
            [1913 Webster]
        (e) The handle or helve of certain tools, instruments,
            etc., as a hammer, a whip, etc.
        (f) A pole, especially a Maypole. [Obs.] --Stow.
        (g) (Arch.) The body of a column; the cylindrical pillar
            between the capital and base (see Illust. of
            Column). Also, the part of a chimney above the roof.
            Also, the spire of a steeple. [Obs. or R.] --Gwilt.
        (h) A column, an obelisk, or other spire-shaped or
            columnar monument.
            [1913 Webster]
                  Bid time and nature gently spare
                  The shaft we raise to thee.       --Emerson.
            [1913 Webster]
        (i) (Weaving) A rod at the end of a heddle.
        (j) (Mach.) A solid or hollow cylinder or bar, having one
            or more journals on which it rests and revolves, and
            intended to carry one or more wheels or other
            revolving parts and to transmit power or motion; as,
            the shaft of a steam engine. See Illust. of
            [1913 Webster]
     4. (Zool.) A humming bird ({Thaumastura cora) having two of
        the tail feathers next to the middle ones very long in the
        male; -- called also cora humming bird.
        [1913 Webster]
     5. [Cf. G. schacht.] (Mining) A well-like excavation in the
        earth, perpendicular or nearly so, made for reaching and
        raising ore, for raising water, etc.
        [1913 Webster]
     6. A long passage for the admission or outlet of air; an air
        [1913 Webster]
     7. The chamber of a blast furnace.
        [1913 Webster]
     Line shaft (Mach.), a main shaft of considerable length, in
        a shop or factory, usually bearing a number of pulleys by
        which machines are driven, commonly by means of
        countershafts; -- called also line, or main line.
     Shaft alley (Naut.), a passage extending from the engine
        room to the stern, and containing the propeller shaft.
     Shaft furnace (Metal.), a furnace, in the form of a
        chimney, which is charged at the top and tapped at the
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: a line that forms the length of an arrow pointer
      2: an aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and
         intended to have a telling effect; "his parting shot was
         `drop dead'"; "she threw shafts of sarcasm"; "she takes a dig
         at me every chance she gets" [syn: shot, shaft, slam,
         dig, barb, jibe, gibe]
      3: a long rod or pole (especially the handle of an implement or
         the body of a weapon like a spear or arrow)
      4: a column of light (as from a beacon) [syn: beam, beam of
         light, light beam, ray, ray of light, shaft, shaft
         of light, irradiation]
      5: the main (mid) section of a long bone [syn: diaphysis,
      6: obscene terms for penis [syn: cock, prick, dick,
         shaft, pecker, peter, tool, putz]
      7: a long pointed rod used as a tool or weapon [syn: spear,
         lance, shaft]
      8: a vertical passageway through a building (as for an elevator)
      9: (architecture) upright consisting of the vertical part of a
         column [syn: shaft, scape]
      10: a long vertical passage sunk into the earth, as for a mine
          or tunnel
      11: a revolving rod that transmits power or motion [syn:
          rotating shaft, shaft]
      12: the hollow spine of a feather [syn: quill, calamus,
      v 1: equip with a shaft
      2: defeat someone through trickery or deceit [syn: cheat,
         chouse, shaft, screw, chicane, jockey]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  209 Moby Thesaurus words for "shaft":
     abysm, abyss, adit, air duct, air hole, air passage, air shaft,
     air tube, airway, antenna tower, arch, arrow, arrowhead, baluster,
     balustrade, banister, bank, barb, barbican, barbule, barrel,
     barrow, base, beam, belfry, bell tower, blowhole, bobtailed arrow,
     bolt, boundary stone, brass, breathing hole, bust, cairn,
     campanile, caryatid, cavity, cenotaph, chasm, chested arrow,
     cilium, cloth yard shaft, coal mine, colliery, colonnade, colossus,
     column, crater, crevasse, cromlech, cross, cup, cupola, cut,
     cyclolith, dado, dart, deep, depth, derrick, die, dig, diggings,
     dolmen, dome, duct, excavation, filament, filamentule, fire tower,
     flight, flue, footstalk, footstone, gibe, gleam, gold mine, grave,
     gravestone, gulf, handle, headstone, helve, hoarstone, hole,
     hollow, inscription, jab, jack, jibe, knock, lantern, lighthouse,
     louver, louverwork, marker, martello, martello tower, mast,
     mausoleum, megalith, memento, memorial, memorial arch,
     memorial column, memorial statue, memorial stone, menhir, minaret,
     mine, monolith, monument, mound, naris, necrology, newel-post,
     nostril, obelisk, obituary, observation tower, open cut, opencast,
     pagoda, pedestal, pedicel, peduncle, pencil, pier, pilaster, pile,
     piling, pillar, pinnacle, pit, plaque, plinth, pole, post, potshot,
     prize, put-down, pylon, pyramid, quarrel, quarry, queen-post,
     quill, ray, reed, reliquary, remembrance, ribbon, rod,
     rostral column, screw, screwing, shank, shoot, shrine, skyscraper,
     socle, spilehole, spiracle, spire, staff, stalk, stanchion, stand,
     standard, standpipe, steeple, stela, stem, stick, sting, stone,
     streak, stupa, subbase, surbase, tablet, television mast,
     testimonial, thrust, tomb, tombstone, tope, touchhole, tour, tower,
     transom, trophy, trunk, tunnel, turret, upright, vent, ventage,
     venthole, ventiduct, ventilating shaft, ventilator, volley,
     water tower, well, wind tunnel, windmill tower, workings,
     yawning abyss

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