AskDefine | Define shed

Dictionary Definition

shed adj : shed at an early stage of development; "most amphibians have caducous gills"; "the caducous calyx of a poppy" [syn: caducous] [ant: persistent] n : an outbuilding with a single story; used for shelter or storage


1 get rid of; "he shed his image as a pushy boss"; "shed your clothes" [syn: cast, cast off, shake off, throw, throw off, throw away, drop]
2 pour out in drops or small quantities or as if in drops or small quantities; "shed tears"; "spill blood"; "God shed His grace on Thee" [syn: spill, pour forth]
3 cause or allow (a solid substance) to flow or run out or over; "spill the beans all over the table" [syn: spill, disgorge]
4 cast off hair, skin, horn, or feathers; "out dog sheds every Spring" [syn: molt, exuviate, moult, slough] [also: shedding]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /SEd/
  • /ʃɛd/
  • AHD: /shěd/

Etymology 1

etyl ang sceadan, from . Cognate with Dutch scheiden, German scheiden.


  1. In the context of "transitive|archaic": To part or divide.
    A metal comb shed her golden hair.
  2. In the context of "transitive|archaic": To pour; to make flow.
    I have shed the blood of our enemies.
  3. To allow to flow or fall.
    I didn't shed many tears when he left me.
  4. To radiate, cast, give off
    Can you shed any light on this problem?
  5. In the context of "transitive|intransitive": To cast off, to let fall, be divested of.
    When we found the snake, it was in the process of shedding its skin.
To part or divide
To pour; to make flow
To allow to flow or fall
To radiate, cast, give off
To cast off, to let fall, be divested of

Etymology 2

etyl ang scead, from . Cognate with German Scheitel ‘hair parting’.


  1. A distinction or dividing-line.
  2. A parting in the hair.
  3. An area of land as distinguished from those around it.
Derived terms

Etymology 3

Variant of shade.


  1. A small wooden construction to store tools.
  2. In the context of "UK|derogatory|informal": An automobile which is old, worn-out, slow, or otherwise of poor quality.

See also

Extensive Definition

A shed is typically a simple, single-story structure in a back garden or on an allotment that is used for storage, hobbies, or as a workshop. The modern Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines sheds as a "slight structure built for shelter or storage, or for use as a workshop, either a separate building or attached to a permanent building as a lean-to; often with open front or sides." Sheds vary considerably in the complexity of their construction and their size, from small open-sided tin-roofed structures to large wood-framed sheds with shingled roofs, windows, and electrical outlets. Sheds used on farms or in industry can be large structures.


Small domestic sheds

The simplest, least expensive sheds are available in kit form. Both shed kits and "do-it-yourself" plans are available for wooden sheds. Sheds are used to store home and garden tools and equipment such as push lawn mowers, lawn tractors, and gardening supplies. In addition, sheds can be used to store items or products that are not suitable for indoor storage, such as gasoline, pesticides, or herbicides.
For homes with small gardens or modest storage needs, there are several types of very small sheds. These include corner sheds, which fit into a corner (3’ tall x 3’ wide x 2’ deep), vertical sheds (5’ tall x 3’ wide x 4’ deep), horizontal sheds (3’ tall x 5’ wide x 4’ deep), and toolsheds. When a shed is used for tool storage, shelves and hooks are often used to maximize the storage space. Gambrel-style roofed sheds, which resemble a Dutch-style barn have a high sloping roofline which increases storage space in the 'loft'. Another style of small shed is the saltbox-style shed.

Larger domestic sheds

Larger, more expensive sheds are typically constructed of wood and include features typically found in house construction, such as windows, a shingled roof, and electrical outlets. Larger sheds provide more space for engaging in hobbies such as gardening, small engine repair, or tinkering. Some sheds have small porches or include furniture, which allows them to be used for relaxation purposes. In some cases, teleworkers and homeworkers in general who live in mild climates use small- to medium-sized wooden garden sheds as outdoor offices. There is a growing industry in providing "off the peg" garden offices to cater for this demand, particularly in the UK but also in the US. Shed owners can customize wooden sheds to match the features (e.g., siding, trim, etc.) of the main house. A number of decorative options can be added to sheds, such as dormers, shutters, flowerboxes, finials, and weathervanes. As well, practical options can be added such as benches, ramps, ventilation systems (e.g., in cases where a swimming pool heater is installed in a shed), and electric lighting. Sheds designed for gardening, called "potting sheds", often feature windows or skylights for illumination, ventilation grilles, and a potter's bench for mixing soil and re-potting plants.

Specific-use sheds

  • Bike sheds (also called bicycle sheds)usually contain a framework on which bikes can be supported and locked. Bike sheds range from little more than a supported roof to more complex structures with walls and locking doors.
  • Boat sheds (also called boatsheds) are lockable wooden sheds built near a body of water to store small private boats, bathing suits, and related items. Boat sheds used for rowing clubs are large structures for storing skiffs.
  • Agricultural sheds Metal sheds made from thin sheet metal sheathing (galvanized steel, aluminium, or corrugated iron) attached to a metal camel toe. Metal sheds are a good choice when long-term strength and resistance to fire, rot, or termites is desired. However, metal sheds may rust over time, particularly if they are constructed from steel that is not galvanized.
As well, some types of metal sheds that have thin walls are easily dented, which may makes some types of thin metal sheds a poor choice for vandal-prone areas or for high-traffic activities such as small businesses. In cold climates, metal sheds with thin walls need to have snow and ice cleared from the roof, because the thin metal may be damaged by a heavy accumulation. Since thin metal sheds weigh much less than wood or PVC plastic sheds, thin metal sheds are more at risk of being damaged by heavy winds. To prevent wind damage, thin metal sheds should be attached to a concrete foundation with screws.

Plastic sheds

Plastic shed kits utilizing heavy molded plastics such as PVC and polyethylene are less expensive than sheet metal sheds. PVC resins and high-impact, UV light-resistant polyethylene make plastic outdoor sheds stronger, lighter, and more durable and more resistant to denting and chipping than wood, and tend to be more stable.
Plastic shed kits sided with vinyl are typically among the least expensive types of shed construction. Higher-quality sheds use UV-resistant plastic and powder-coated metal frames. Many plastic sheds are modular to allow for easy extensions, peg-boards, shelving, attic-storage, windows, skylights, and other accessories to be added later.
Plastic sheds are not susceptible to termite and wood-boring insect damage, and they require little maintenance. Unlike wood sheds, plastic sheds do not need annual re-staining or varnishing.

Wooden sheds

Wooden sheds have a natural look that can blend in well with garden environments. Despite the strength of wood, over time it can rot, split, warp or become susceptible to mold and mildew, so wood sheds should be treated for protection. Wood sheds need regular maintenance, such as keeping plant matter and debris from piling up beside the walls and on the roof, and periodically re-staining or varnishing the wood. Fire and termite attack are also potential problems.
Stains and preservative product can be applied to wood sheds to prevent damage to the wood caused by exposure to rain, UV light, harsh climatic conditions, fungal attack and wood-boring insects. If a colored preservative oil or stain is used, a wooden shed can either be made to stand out as a feature within a garden, or to blend in with its surroundings. Some types of wood, such as cedar, are more naturally-resistant to water damage. One advantage of using wood sheds is that it is easier to modify wooden sheds (i.e., than metal sheds) by adding windows, doors, or exterior trim, because wood can be cut and drilled using commonly-available tools. Some homeowners may prefer wood sheds because wood is a renewable resource.

Vinyl-sided sheds

Vinyl-sided sheds are typically built with standard wood framing construction and oriented strand board (OSB) on the walls covered with standard vinyl siding. Vinyl-sided sheds never need to be painted, they are generally stronger than plastic or metal sheds, and are usually built to conform with the local building codes. They are not eco-friendly and they cost more than wooden, metal or plastic sheds.


In Australia and New Zealand the term shed can be used to refer to any building that is not a residence and which may be open at the ends or sides, or both. Australia's passion for sheds is documented in Mark Thomson's Blokes and Sheds. In New Zealand, the bi-monthly magazine The Shed appeals to the culture of "blokes" who do woodwork or metalwork DIY projects in their sheds. There is also another magazine called The Shed, a bimonthly pdf free magazine produced in the UK but with a global audience, for people who work (usually in creative industries) in garden offices, sheds and other shedlike atmospheres.
In the UK, men have long enjoyed working in their potting sheds; the slang term "sheddie", to refer to a person enamoured of shed-building, testifies to the place of sheds in UK popular culture. Author Gordon Thorburn examined this proclivity in his book Men and Sheds, which argues that a "place of retreat" is a "male necessity" which provides men with solace, especially during their retirement. The first National Shed Week was held in the UK in July 2007 and received widespread coverage in the media. A second National Shed Week is planned for July 2008. The UK Internet usenet group uk.rec.sheds is a forum for discussing shed construction.


The word is recorded in English since 1481, as shadde, possibly a variant of shade. The word shade comes from the Old English word "sceadu", which means "shade, shadow, darkness." The term's P.Gmc. cognate, "skadwo" also means "shady place, protection from glare or heat."
The Old English word is spelled in different ways, such as shadde, shad or shedde, all of which come from an "Old Teutonic/Anglo-Saxon root word for separation or division." The first attested usage of the word, in 1481, was in the sentence "A yearde in whiche was a shadde where in were six grete dogges." The Anglo Saxon word "shud", which means "cover" may also have been part of the development of the word. In 1440, a "shud" was defined as a "... schudde, hovel, swyne kote or howse of sympyl hyllynge [covering] to kepe yn beestys."

Other meanings

The term "shed" can also refer to the shed style of modern architecture



  • Gordon Thorburn, Men and Sheds, ISBN 1-84330-329-9

External links

shed in German: Schuppen
shed in French: Shed
shed in Norwegian: Skur
shed in Polish: Szopa (pomieszczenie gospodarcze)
shed in Swedish: Skjul

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Nissen hut, Quonset hut, abandon, addition, booth, cashier, cast, cast off, cote, crib, defoliate, desquamate, discard, discharge, divest, dock, doff, drop, emanate, emit, exude, exuviate, flake off, focus, gatehouse, hangar, housing, hut, hutch, impart, jettison, junk, kiosk, lean-to, let fall, molt, ooze, outbuilding, outhouse, pavilion, peel off, pen, penthouse, pour forth, radiate, reject, release, scatter, scrap, sentry box, shack, shanty, shelter, shine, slip, slough, spill, spread, stall, structure, take off, throw, throw away, throw off, throw out, tollbooth, tollhouse, weep
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