The most common roofing material is Shingle.
Now, chances are if you are searching for the meaning behind a shingle, you have bitten off more than you can chew because we will give you everything you need to know about shingles!
We will help you define shingles, we will also help you learn more about the roofing industry inside and out (unless you’re talking about the Norwegian single pebbles meaning of shingle!)
What exactly is a shingle?
The power of words is that they can carry more than one definition, which I guess can be said for the opposite as well for simplicity’s sake, but none stand out like this term: Shingle.
Chances are you jumped ahead and defined it in perhaps the only way you know: A thin rectangular tile/thin oblong piece of wood, metal, and other roofing material intricately organized in overlapping rows on your home’s roof, side and/or other building on your property.
Most likely, that’s all you know, and here’s the thing…you’re not alone! The word lists of the term “Shingle” are many and rightfully so with its usage. Get ready, strap up, because we will dive into the history and usage of the term “Shingle”. Let’s go!
Shingle: Word of the day – What does it mean?
As mentioned above, The term “Shingle” often conjures up its context to one’s roof, but pay attention as there is more than meets the eye!
In the English language, there are a number of definitions that are important to consider. According to Free Dictionary, here are those definitions as a noun.
- (n.1) Beach gravel rock fragments consisting of large smooth pebbles/waterworn stones found on a shingle beach.
- (n.2) A small signboard that indicates one’s professional practice; sign denoting location. (Ex. “After she passed her bar exam, she hung her shingle outside her own lawyer’s office.)
Here’s where it gets interesting! There are definitions take on a verb form, which means either:
- To cut hair close to the head (denoting a woman’s close-cropped haircut)
- Cover (roof, sides of your house, or other buildings) with shingles.
- To hammer or squeeze (puddled iron) into bloom or billet, eliminating as much slag as possible. (derived from an old french dialect, chingler, ‘To whip” and same definition from Latin cingula girdle, cingulum.
Definitions are many, but so is point of origin as well. There is a large European linguistic influence over the course of history. Let’s give you the run down!
Why is a “Shingle” called a “Shingle”?
Etymology is the study of word origin, and in the context of the term “Shingle,” let’s go ahead and give you the breakdown of the singular definition we often refer it to as mentioned above:
- “A thin piece of wood, wooden tile for roofing” can be derived from related words such as a late old English scindel variant. More examples may include from late Latin scindula or scandula, meaning “roof tile”.
As for the etymology for the other two definitions that you maybe were not aware of, here are the origins of their usage:
- (n.1) “Loose, waterworn stones on a seashore” that is believed to be derived from and/or related to the Norwegian single pebbles, beach gravel consisting of small stones native to the British Islands. It can be safe to compare Norwegian single pebbles to the soft stones you may have skipped across a lake.
- (n.2) “Small signboard” structure displaying to announce one’s professional office was a common term dating back to the 19th century.
Note: Origin sourced from the “Online Etymology Dictionary” Source: https://www.etymonline.com/word/shingle
“Shingle Roof” – Back to the Basics!
There’s no doubt that it is always comfortable to stick with what you know. You may or may not be able to rattle off the definition of “Shingle,” but you know it about it, let’s be honest. Most people when they think of shingles, its the building material that comes to mind, not the norwegian singl pebbles (perhaps for good reason, such small pebbles are not as obvious).
Here’s a recap of the definition:
- “The thin rectangular tile/thin oblong piece of wood or other roofing material organized in overlapping rows to cover your roof, side of your house, or other building.”
Shingles are a widely used and popular style of roofing material that homeowners willingly choose due to its durability as the first line of defense of your roof against the elements over time.
Asphalt shingles are the most common choice homeowner choice when it comes to shingles, and chances are you’ll see it on most if not all, homes in your neighborhood. All for a good reason, as their durability, fire resistance, and energy efficiency are some of the best on the marketplace along with easy installation and cost-effectiveness.
Keep in mind that despite its superior qualities, proper, proactive maintenance will always be a best practice to follow because hey nothing last forever, and the time will come for repairs and replacement. Consult with a roofing contractor for proper guidance. Due your due diligence, so you don’t have to pay later!
☑️ Related: What to Know About Hiring a Roofing Contractor
What’s the Verdict?
The origin of the word “Shingle” is not a one-stop shop; rather, it is an expensive scope of a multitude of shared meanings across languages. Simple, yet complex, but always interesting!
If you stick with what you know, you’ll always get that, but if you learn and understand how “Shingle” can be used, hey who knows the perspective, you can learn and impart on others. Just a decision to explore can make all the difference!