The Bible often use the word "sheaves;" for example in Genesis: "We were binding sheaves of corn out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered round mine and bowed down to it" (Genesis 37:7). Sheaves are often used in parables to represent other things or events, and therefore the word can have meanings beyond its literal definition.

The Bible often uses sheaves as a metaphor.


A sheaf can be defined as a bundle of many items, usually the same, tied together.

"Sheaves" is the plural of the word "sheaf." The meaning of "sheaf" can be stalks of cut or harvested grain that have been bound together. It can also be defined as any collection of things that are held together with a band or tie; for example, you could say; "On the table there were sheaves of paper." Any composite object made of many things bundled or tied together could make a sheaf -- or if there are many of them, sheaves.


The origins of the word "sheaves" are Old English, from the word "scheaf." The Anglo-Saxon word "scheaf" dates back to at least the 7th century. There are similar words from other European languages that have influenced the word we use today, for example "schoof" in Dutch meaning sheaf, "schaub" in German meaning wisp of straw and the Old Norse word "skauf" meaning tail of a fox.


Synonyms -- words that mean the same or something very similar -- for the word sheaf or sheaves are bundle, bunch, stack, pile, heap and mass. There is also the British informal alternative "wodge."

Usage Examples

Using the word "sheaves" in a sentence is simple; for example, "I grabbed sheaves of dollars from the drawer" or "I made sheaves of pens to give out to the staff." There are many ways to use the word in modern conversation and writing.

Sheaves as Metaphor

A metaphor is the figurative or symbolic use of a word in which it is used to represent something else. In Genesis, sheaves of corn were used to represent Joseph as the sheaf that stood upright; Joseph's brothers were the sheaves that bowed down to his sheaf. In Roy Campbell's "The Serf," sheaves are used metaphorically in the lines "Red clod, to which the war-cry once was rain/And tribal spears the fatal sheaves of corn." The sheaves in this poem are used to represent white people who who farmed this area of Africa and caused detribalisation.