General English

General Science

  • noun the small pebbles found on beaches, 1–7 cm in diameter


  • A roof covering unit made of asphalt, wood, slate, asbestos, cement, or other material cut into stock sizes and applied on sloping roofs in an overlapping pattern.
  • A thin piece of material, such as wood, cement, asbestos, or plastic, used as an exterior wall finish over sheathing.

Real Estate

  • noun a small flat tile, especially one made of wood, used in overlapping rows to cover a roof or wall
  • verb to cover something with small overlapping tiles

Origin & History of “shingle”

English has two distinct words shingle. The older, ‘roof tile’ (12th c.), was borrowed from Latin scindula, a variant of scandula ‘roof tile’. this was probably derived from scandere ‘ascend’ (source of English ascend, descend, scan, etc), the underlying notion being of rows of tiles rising one above the other like steps. Shingle ‘beach pebbles’ (16th c.) is of unknown origin; it may be related to Norwegian singl ‘coarse sand’ and north Frisian singel ‘gravel’. Shingles (14th c.), incidentally, the name of a viral infection, comes from Latin cingulum ‘girdle’, a close relative of English cincture ‘girdle’: the disease is often characterized by skin eruptions that almost encircle the body.