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Definition of shell:

  1. A case or cartridge containing a charge of explosive material, which bursts after having been thrown high into the air. It is often elevated through the agency of a larger firework in which it is contained.
  2. A coarse kind of coffin; also, a thin interior coffin inclosed in a more substantial one.
  3. A concave rough cast- iron tool in which a convex lens is ground to shape.
  4. A gouge bit or shell bit.
  5. A hard outside covering, as of a fruit or an animal.
  6. A hollow projectile, of various shapes, adapted for a mortar or a cannon, and containing an explosive substance, ignited with a fuse or by percussion, by means of which the projectile is burst and its fragments scattered. See Bomb.
  7. A light boat the frame of which is covered with thin wood or with paper; as, a racing shell.
  8. A pod.
  9. A torpedo.
  10. An engraved copper roller used in print works.
  11. An instrument of music, as a lyre, - the first lyre having been made, it is said, by drawing strings over a tortoise shell.
  12. Any slight hollow structure; a framework, or exterior structure, regarded as not complete or filled in; as, the shell of a house.
  13. Hence, by extension, any mollusks having such a covering.
  14. Something similar in form or action to an ordnance shell;
  15. The case which holds the powder, or charge of powder and shot, used with breechloading small arms.
  16. The covering, or outside part, of a nut; as, a hazelnut shell.
  17. The hard calcareous or chitinous external covering of mollusks, crustaceans, and some other invertebrates. In some mollusks, as the cuttlefishes, it is internal, or concealed by the mantle. Also, the hard covering of some vertebrates, as the armadillo, the tortoise, and the like.
  18. The hard covering of an egg.
  19. The husks of cacao seeds, a decoction of which is often used as a substitute for chocolate, cocoa, etc.
  20. The outer frame or case of a block within which the sheaves revolve.
  21. To be disengaged from the ear or husk; as, wheat or rye shells in reaping.
  22. To cast the shell, or exterior covering; to fall out of the pod or husk; as, nuts shell in falling.
  23. To fall off, as a shell, crust, etc.
  24. To separate the kernels of ( an ear of Indian corn, wheat, oats, etc.) from the cob, ear, or husk.
  25. To strip or break off the shell of; to take out of the shell, pod, etc.; as, to shell nuts or pease; to shell oysters.
  26. To throw shells or bombs upon or into; to bombard; as, to shell a town.


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