1590s, "to overhang," also "to provide with shelves," probably a back-formation from shelves, plural of shelf (n.1). The meaning "put or lay on a shelf" is recorded by 1650s; the figurative or metaphoric sense of "lay aside as not needed, dismiss by neglect" is from 1812. Related: Shelved; shelving.
"to slope gradually," 1610s, from Middle English shelven "to slope" (c. 1400), which is probably more or less from shelfe "grassy slope," a word related to shelf (n.1). Related: Shelved; shelving.
updated on August 21, 2022