AskDefine | Define sheaf

Dictionary Definition

sheaf n : a package of several things tied together for carrying or storing [syn: bundle] [also: sheaves (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary






  1. A quantity of the stalks and ears of wheat, rye, or other grain, bound together; a bundle of grain or straw.
  2. Any collection of things bound together; a bundle.
    a sheaf of paper
  3. A bundle of arrows sufficient to fill a quiver, or the allowance of each archer.
    • The sheaf of arrows shook and rattled in the case. -- Dryden.
  4. (unit) A quantity of arrows, usually twenty-four.
    • 1786: Arrows were anciently made of reeds, afterwards of cornel wood, and occasionally of every species of wood: but according to Roger Ascham, ash was best; arrows were reckoned by sheaves, a sheaf consisted of twenty-four arrows. — Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, page 34.
  5. (Mechanical) A sheave.
  6. An abstract construct in topology that associates data to the open sets of a topological space, together with well-defined restrictions from larger to smaller open sets, subject to the condition that compatible data on overlapping open sets corresponds, via the restrictions, to a unique datum on the union of the open sets. W


bundle of grain or straw


to sheaf
  1. (transitive) To gather and bind into a sheaf; to make into sheaves; as, to sheaf wheat.
  2. (intransitive) To collect and bind cut grain, or the like; to make sheaves.
    1599: They that reap must sheaf and bind; Then to cart with Rosalind. — William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act III, Scene II, line 107.

Extensive Definition

A sheaf is one of the large bundles in which cereal plants are bound after reaping. Accounts of two usages derived from this are found at:

See also

sheaf in Italian: fascio

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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