over·​shad·​ow | \ ˌō-vər-ˈsha-(ˌ)dō \
overshadowed; overshadowing; overshadows

Definition of overshadow

transitive verb

1 : to cast a shadow over
2 : to exceed in importance : outweigh

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Examples of overshadow in a Sentence

The pitcher's outstanding performance should not overshadow the achievements of the rest of the team. large trees overshadow the yard and darken the house for much of the day

Recent Examples on the Web

But support for the 5 Star, overshadowed by the hyperactive Mr. Salvini, has slipped slightly. Giovanni Legorano, WSJ, "Italy’s New Masters Rattle EU, But Ordinary Italians Say ‘Benissimo’," 17 Nov. 2018 The success of the Parker mission, which affords scientists an unprecedented view of our star, provides a moment to look back at Helios 2, overshadowed in its own time by the Viking 2 landing on Mars. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Probe Gets Closer to Sun Than Any Human-Made Object in History," 30 Oct. 2018 Democratic running mates Ned Lamont and Susan Bysiewicz picked up a raft of endorsements in eastern Connecticut Monday, a region often overshadowed by the party strongholds of Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport. Neil Vigdor, courant.com, "Susan Bysiewicz And Ned Lamont Make Headway In Eastern Connecticut," 9 July 2018 Smith’s honeyed tenor absolutely glistened — overshadowed only by a falsetto for days. Théoden Janes, charlotteobserver, "Review: Did Sam Smith and his sad songs find a way to send Charlotte fans home happy?," 7 July 2018 That doesn’t fly in Europe, where expectations of privacy are more solidified, and local tech industry feels overshadowed by the American giants. Grace Dobush, Fortune, "EU Regulators Have a New Plan to Keep Google and Facebook in Line: Regulate Them Like Traditional Telecoms," 5 July 2018 Ten stories from the past few days — mostly overshadowed by Independence Day festivities — highlight the president’s clashes with and disdain for experts in the U.S. government. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: 10 stories illuminate the Trump doctrine on foreign policy," 5 July 2018 But that isn’t the only important matter overshadowed by the raging battle over family separations, which resulted from Trump administration policy. Michael Smolens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Immigration reform seems impossible now ... and forever?," 1 July 2018 Anita Felix on violin and Miles Graber on piano will present works by women overshadowed in their own day by more famous male counterparts: Fanny Mendelssohn, the sister of Felix, and Clara Schumann, wife of Robert. Anthony Barcellos, sacbee, "Summer selections for classical music lovers," 8 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overshadow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of overshadow

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for overshadow

Last Updated

22 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for overshadow

The first known use of overshadow was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for overshadow



English Language Learners Definition of overshadow

: to cause (something or someone) to seem less important or impressive when compared to something or someone else

: to make (something) less enjoyable because of sadness, fear, or worry

: to cast a shadow over (something)


over·​shad·​ow | \ ˌō-vər-ˈsha-dō \
overshadowed; overshadowing

Kids Definition of overshadow

1 : to cast a shadow over : darken
2 : to be or become more important than Her achievements overshadowed those of her classmates.

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Comments on overshadow

What made you want to look up overshadow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a complex dispute or argument

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