from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act or process of turning aside or moving to an alternate course.
  • n. A railroad switch.
  • n. Electricity A low-resistance connection between two points in an electric circuit that forms an alternative path for a portion of the current. Also called bypass.
  • n. Medicine A passage between two natural body channels, such as blood vessels, especially one created surgically to divert or permit flow from one pathway or region to another; a bypass.
  • transitive v. To turn or move aside or onto another course: shunting traffic around an accident.
  • transitive v. To evade by putting aside or ignoring: urgent problems that society can no longer shunt aside.
  • transitive v. To switch (a train or car) from one track to another.
  • transitive v. Electricity To provide or divert (current) by means of a shunt.
  • transitive v. Medicine To divert or permit flow of (a body fluid) from one pathway or region to another by surgical means.
  • intransitive v. To move or turn aside.
  • intransitive v. Electricity To become diverted by means of a shunt. Used of a circuit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To turn away or aside
  • v. To move a train from one track to another, or to move carriages etc from one train to another
  • v. To divert electric current by providing an alternative path
  • v. To divert the flow of a body fluid using surgery
  • v. To move data in memory to a physical disk
  • v. (UK) To have a minor collision, especially in a motor car
  • n. A switch on a railway
  • n. A connection used as an alternative path between parts of an electric circuit
  • n. A passage between body channels constructed surgically as a bypass
  • n. (UK) A minor collision

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A turning off to a side or short track, that the principal track may be left free.
  • n. A conducting circuit joining two points in a conductor, or the terminals of a galvanometer or dynamo, so as to form a parallel or derived circuit through which a portion of the current may pass, for the purpose of regulating the amount passing in the main circuit.
  • n. The shifting of the studs on a projectile from the deep to the shallow sides of the grooves in its discharge from a shunt gun.
  • intransitive v. To go aside; to turn off.
  • transitive v. To shun; to move from.
  • transitive v. To cause to move suddenly; to give a sudden start to; to shove.
  • transitive v. To turn off to one side; especially, to turn off, as a grain or a car upon a side track; to switch off; to shift.
  • transitive v. To provide with a shunt.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To start aside or back; shrink back; flinch; of a horse, to shy.
  • To turn back or away; turn aside.
  • Specifically— In railroading, to turn from one line of rails to another; switch.
  • In electricity, to use a shunt. See shunt, n., 3.
  • To escape.
  • To turn aside from a topic, purpose, line of thought, course of action, etc.; shift one's thoughts, conversation, proceedings, etc., into a different direction.
  • To hold back; delay.
  • To slip down, as earth.
  • To shun; move from.
  • To move or turn aside.
  • To give a start to; shove.
  • Hence To shove off; put out of one's way; free one's self of, as of anything disagreeable, by putting it upon another.
  • To ward off injury, trouble, or danger from; remove from a position of trouble or danger.
  • n. A drawing or turning back.
  • n. A turning aside; specifically, in railroading, a turning off to a siding, or short line of rails, that the main line may be left clear.
  • n. In electricity, a conductor, usually of relatively low resistance, joining two points in an electric circuit, and forming a desired circuit or path through which a part of the current will pass, the amount depending on the relative resistance of the shunt and that part of the principal circuit whose extremities it connects.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. provide with or divert by means of an electrical shunt
  • v. transfer to another track, of trains
  • n. implant consisting of a tube made of plastic or rubber; for draining fluids within the body
  • n. a passage by which a bodily fluid (especially blood) is diverted from one channel to another
  • n. a conductor having low resistance in parallel with another device to divert a fraction of the current


Middle English shunten, to flinch.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


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  • The study, which involved 158 mothers carrying babies with spina bifida, found that sealing up their defective spinal cords before they were born also significantly reduced the chances they would need to a tube known as a shunt surgically implanted to drain fluid from their brains.

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  • But at the level a Master worked, improperly handled energy could be deadly; the shunt was a necessity - as Firesong's own scars testified.

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  • "There's a good chance she is not going to need a shunt, which is a permanent version."

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  • "The shunt is a tube that runs inside my brain down to the abdominal area, with a one-way valve coming out of the brain to release fluid if it builds up," she explains. - Home Page

  • A shunt is a drainage device that runs from the brain to the abdomen to relieve excess cerebrospinal fluid.

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  • I learned this word in the English subtitles of the French version of Le Mans. Le Mans, by the way is a film starring Steve McQueen and taking place in the famous Le Mans (24 hour car race) in France.

    January 8, 2007