"to gather up in sheaves," 1570s; see sheaf. Related: Sheaved; sheaving. The earlier verb in this sense was simply sheaf (c. 1500).
"grooved wheel to receive a cord, wheel of a pulley," mid-14c., also "slice of bread" (late 14c.), related to or another form of shive (n.) "a slice, a piece," itself a word of uncertain origin and disputed relationship. The connecting notion in the two senses might be "length of wood."
Entries linking to sheave
Middle English shef, from Old English sceaf (plural sceafas) "large bundle into which grain is bound after reaping," from Proto-Germanic *skauf- (source also of Old Saxon scof, Middle Dutch scoof, Dutch schoof, Old High German scoub "sheaf, bundle," German Schaub "sheaf;" Old Norse skauf "fox's tail;" Gothic skuft "hair on the head," German Schopf "tuft"), from PIE root *(s)keup- "cluster, tuft, hair of the head."
Extended to bundles or collections of things other than grain by c. 1300. Also used for "a handful or quiver-ful of arrows" (late 14c.), sometimes specifically as "two dozen arrows."
early 13c., "slice of bread; thin piece cut off," a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *scifa, cognate with Old Saxon sciva, Middle Dutch schive, Dutch schijf, Old High German sciba, German Scheibe. OED lists the senses in the modern Germanic languages as "quoit, disc, knee-cap, pulley, window-pane, slice of bread, etc." By 1869 in English as "bung, thin, flat cork for a bottle."
Compare skive (v.1) "to split or cut into strips, pare off, grind away," a later word borrowed from Scandinavian and probably from the same source. The Middle English noun shif, plural shives, "a particle of the husk in flax after beating" (late 14c.) is thought to be from Middle Low Germanscheve, schif "splinter" [Middle English Compendium] and is probably from the same Germanic source. Century Dictionary writes, "The evidence seems to indicate two diff. words merged under this one form ...."
This is the source, too, of the printer's term for "dark speck or other imperfection in finished paper" (by 1879), via the meaning "smooth, shiny outside of the cornstalk," which they somewhat resemble. Also compare Middle English shide "piece of hewn timber, plank."
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to cut, split," extension of root *sek- "to cut."
It forms all or part of: abscissa; conscience; conscious; ecu; escudo; escutcheon; esquire; nescience; nescient; nice; omniscience; omniscient; plebiscite; prescience; prescient; rescind; rescission; science; scienter; scilicet; sciolist; scission; schism; schist; schizo-; schizophrenia; scudo; sheath; sheathe; sheave (n.) "grooved wheel to receive a cord, pulley;" shed (v.) "cast off;" shin (n.) "fore part of the lower leg;" shingle (n.1) "thin piece of wood;" shit (v.); shive; shiver (n.1) "small piece, splinter, fragment, chip;" shoddy; shyster; skene; ski; skive (v.1) "split or cut into strips, pare off, grind away;" squire.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit chindhi, chinatti "to break, split up;" Avestan a-sista- "unsplit, unharmed," Greek skhizein "to split, cleave, part, separate;" Latin scindere "to cut, rend, tear asunder, split;" Armenian c'tim "to tear, scratch;" Lithuanian skiesti "to separate, divide;" Old Church Slavonic cediti "to strain;" Old English scitan, Old Norse skita "to defecate;" Old English sceað, Old High German sceida "sheath;" Old Irish sceid "to vomit, spit;" Welsh chwydu "to break open."
updated on August 14, 2022