AskDefine | Define shovel

Dictionary Definition



1 a hand tool for lifting loose material; consists of a curved container or scoop and a handle
2 the quantity a shovel can hold [syn: shovelful, spadeful]
3 a fire iron consisting of a small shovel used to scoop coals or ashes in a fireplace
4 a machine for excavating [syn: power shovel, excavator, digger] v : dig with or as if with a shovel; "shovel sand"; "he shovelled in the backyard all afternoon long" [also: shovelling, shovelled]

User Contributed Dictionary

see scoop




  1. A hand tool with a handle for moving portions of material such as earth, snow, grain, etc from one place to another. Not to be confused with a spade which is for digging.
  2. A spade.
tool for moving portions of material


  1. To move materials with a shovel.
    The workers were shovelling gravel and tarmac into the pothole in the road.
    After the blizzard, we shoveled the driveway for the next two days.
    I don't mind shoveling, but using a pickaxe hurts my back terribly.


to move materials with a shovel

Related terms

Extensive Definition

A shovel is a tool for lifting and moving loose material such as coal, gravel, snow, soil, or sand and is an extremely common tool which is used extensively in agriculture, construction and gardening. It is usually a hand tool consisting of a broad blade with edges or sides that is fixed to a medium-length handle.
Hand shovel blades are typically made of pressed sheet steel, folded at the back to make a socket for the handle. The handles are usually made of wood, although steel or even lightweight composite materials may also be used, and is riveted in place. A T-piece is commonly fitted to the end of the handle to aid grip and control where the shovel is designed for moving soil and heavy materials. This design can be easily mass produced.
The term "shovel" is also applied to larger excavating machines, such as power shovels, which are designed for the same purpose—lifting and moving material, see Loader (equipment).
Hand shovels have been adapted for many different tasks and environments. They can be optimized for a single task or designed as cross-over or compromise tools to perform multiple tasks, for example:
  • A coal shovel typically has a wide, flat blade with steeply turned sides, a flat face and a short D-shaped handle.
  • A snowshovel often has a very wide sideless blade that curves upward attached to a long, straight handle. It is designed as much for pushing the snow as for lifting it. The blade can be metal or plastic, but the latter has been used to offer a lighter tool.
  • A grain shovel has a wide aluminium or plastic blade that is attached to a short hardwood handle with "D" top. This shovel has been designed to offer a lighter tool that does not damage the grain. Early models were made from timber.
  • In the 1800's shovels were called turf cutters and spades. They had cylinder-shaped wooden handles and metal triangle points at the end to dig with. Farmers used the shovels for digging up the ground on the farm and turning ground over to get richer soil. The shovels were handmade so they were all different sizes.
  • A spade is designed primarily for breaking up ("spading") clumps of soil. A spade usually has a point and is designed to be pushed into the soil with a foot. Spade blades usually have a rounded face without sharply upturned sides.
  • A Trench (or post hole) shovel (also known as a sharpshooter) is long and narrow, used for digging fairly deep, but narrow trenches, or post-holes.
  • A gardening trowel is a small single-hand implement for breaking up clumps in soil. Gardening trowels typically have strong, narrow blades with sharp points.
  • An entrenching tool is a collapsible and/or compact shovel designed for the military. It may have a spade-like point with sharpened or even serrated edges for secondary use as an axe or saw, respectively. Some militaries of the world (most notably units of the Soviet Union) train their servicemen to use entrenching shovels as makeshift close combat weapons. This tactic has been widely used in the battlefields of World War I and World War II.
  • A roofing shovel is a specialized prying tool which evolved from the use of spading forks and pitchforks to remove old shingles and underlayment as part of roof repair.
  • Barn Shovel used to shovel grain
  • Coal shovel used to shovel coal
  • Garden Shovel used a spade like blade to dig into hard dirt
The traffic signs warning of a Work zone or Construction site generally show a man using a shovel.
Slang use: Shovel: 1965-1980 Harley Davidson Engine Design called so by the "Shovel" shaped rocker boxes on the engine heads. Also called Shovelhead Engines.
Shovel as well as "shutter' down big shovel, [and] "straight shovel duggery" and other disambiguations are used as Common slang terms in Ontario, Canada.

See also

shovel in Aragonese: Pala
shovel in Guarani: Yvyjo'oha
shovel in Czech: Lopata
shovel in Danish: Skovl
shovel in German: Schaufel
shovel in Modern Greek (1453-): Φτυάρι
shovel in Spanish: Pala
shovel in Esperanto: Ŝovelilo
shovel in Persian: بیل (ابزار)
shovel in French: Pelle (outil)
shovel in Korean: 삽
shovel in Ido: Shovelo
shovel in Italian: Pala (attrezzo)
shovel in Hebrew: את
shovel in Latin: Pala
shovel in Luxembourgish: Schëpp
shovel in Lithuanian: Kastuvas
shovel in Dutch: Schep
shovel in Japanese: シャベル
shovel in Polish: Łopata (narzędzie)
shovel in Portuguese: Pá
shovel in Russian: Лопата
shovel in Simple English: Shovel
shovel in Finnish: Lapio
shovel in Ukrainian: Лопата
shovel in Samogitian: Luopėta

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

backhoe, bail, bar spade, bore, bucket, burrow, coal shovel, cup, decant, delve, dig, dig out, dike, dip, dish, dish out, dish up, dredge, drill, drive, excavate, fork, furrow, garden spade, gouge, gouge out, groove, grub, gumming spade, ladle, lower, loy, mine, peat spade, posthole spade, pour, power shovel, quarry, salt shovel, sap, scoop, scoop out, scoop shovel, scrabble, scrape, scratch, scuff, shamble, sink, spade, split shovel, spoon, spud, steam shovel, stump spud, trench, trenching spade, trough, tunnel
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1