What actually is a shelf? In English, according to Webster's the word derives from the Old English term for the deck of a ship or a crag or ledge. The German word "regal", by contrast, has been in use since the 17th century and denotes a frame. But the latest edition of Kluge's Etymological Dictionary declares that the origin is not clear. The famed Brothers Grimm dictionary gives other meanings for "regal" as sovereignty, pluralized as "regalia". The register of an organ is likewise called a "regal".