off the shelf

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n. pl. shelves (shĕlvz)
a. A flat, usually rectangular structure composed of a rigid material, such as wood, glass, or metal, fixed at right angles to a wall or other vertical surface and used to hold or store objects.
b. The contents or capacity of such a structure.
c. Something, such as a projecting ledge of rock or a balcony, that resembles such a structure.
2. A reef, sandbar, or shoal.
3. Bedrock.
off the shelf
From ready-made merchandise in stock: supplies that were available off the shelf.
on the shelf
1. In a state of disuse or inactivity: The injured goalie has been on the shelf for weeks.
2. Out of consideration: The finance bill is on the shelf until next year.

[Middle English, probably from Middle Low German schelf; see skel- in Indo-European roots.]

shelf′ful′ n.

off the shelf

(Commerce) from stock and readily available: you can have this model off the shelf.
adj (off-the-shelf when prenominal)
1. (Commerce) of or relating to a product that is readily available: an off-the-shelf model.
2. (Commerce) of or denoting a company that has been registered with the Registrar of Companies for the sole purpose of being sold
References in classic literature ?
Here he shook the pocket with the five sixpences in it, and Totty showed her teeth and wrinkled her nose in great glee; but, divining that there was nothing more to be got by staying, she jumped off the shelf and ran away to jingle her pocket in the hearing of Nancy, while her mother called after her, "Oh for shame, you naughty gell
INTERNATIONALLY renown Colne Valley poet Simon Armitage (pictured) launched the 19th Off the Shelf festival of writing and reading in Sheffield.
Whether to buy tailored software solutions, or off the shelf, software packages is common dilemma.