shell Definition

  • 1the hard protective outer layer of an animal, insect, or plant, especially one that covers an egg, nut, seed, or some other part
  • 2a casing or housing that encloses something
  • 3a hollow projectile for firing from a gun or mortar

Using shell: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "shell" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The turtle retreated into its shell.

  • Example

    The shell of the egg was cracked.

  • Example

    The computer is housed in a sleek aluminum shell.

  • Example

    The artillery unit fired shells at the enemy position.

shell Synonyms and Antonyms

Idioms Using shell

  • come out of one's shell

    to become more sociable and outgoing


    After joining the drama club, she came out of her shell and made many new friends.

  • someone who is physically present but emotionally or mentally absent


    After the tragic accident, he became a shell of a person, unable to connect with others.

  • a deceptive gambling game in which a small ball or pea is quickly moved around under three small cups or shells, and the player must guess which cup it is under


    The street hustler tricked the tourist with a shell game.

Phrases with shell

  • to pay a large amount of money for something


    I had to shell out $500 for the car repair.

  • a psychological condition caused by prolonged exposure to active warfare, especially being under bombardment


    Many soldiers suffered from shell shock during World War I.

  • a company that exists only on paper and has no office or employees but may have a bank account and engage in financial transactions


    The businessman used a shell company to hide his illegal activities.


Summary: shell in Brief

The term 'shell' [ʃel] refers to a hard outer layer that protects animals, insects, plants, eggs, nuts, seeds, or other parts. It also denotes a casing or housing that encloses something, such as a computer or artillery projectile. Phrases like 'shell out' and 'shell company' extend the meaning to paying a large amount of money or creating a paper company for financial transactions. Idioms like 'come out of one's shell' and 'shell of a person' describe social and emotional states, while 'shell game' refers to a deceptive gambling game.

How do native speakers use this expression?