Definition of on the shelf in English:

on the shelf

See synonyms for on the shelf


  • 1Not used or wanted.

    ‘a shoulder injury kept Jenkins on the shelf for four games’
    • ‘that action plan was left on the shelf to gather dust’
  • 2British informal, dated Past an age when one might expect to have the opportunity to marry (typically used of a woman)

    • ‘I'm all depressed about being left on the shelf cos I'm turning 27 on Sunday’
    unmarried, single, without a partner, without a spouse, without a husband, without a wife, unattached, on one's own
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