\ ˈshād \

Definition of shade 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : comparative darkness or obscurity owing to interception of the rays of light

b : relative obscurity or retirement

2a : shelter (as by foliage) from the heat and glare of sunlight

b : a place sheltered from the sun

3 : an evanescent or unreal appearance

4 shades plural

a : the shadows that gather as darkness comes on

b : netherworld, hades

5a : a disembodied spirit : ghost

b used to signal the similarity between a previously encountered person or situation and one at hand usually used in plural shades of my childhood

6 : something that intercepts or shelters from light, sun, or heat: such as

a : a device partially covering a lamp so as to reduce glare

b : a flexible screen usually mounted on a roller for regulating the light or the view through a window

c shades plural : sunglasses

7a : the reproduction of the effect of shade in painting or drawing

b : a subdued or somber feature

8a : a color produced by a pigment or dye mixture having some black in it

b : a color slightly different from the one under consideration

9a : a minute difference or variation : nuance

b : a minute degree or quantity

10 : a facial expression of sadness or displeasure

throw shade
US slang

: to express contempt or disrespect for someone publicly especially by subtle or indirect insults or criticisms Christopher Oram's elegant set is a pillared palazzo; at cafe tables wasp-waisted women sip tiny cups of espresso and throw shade at their rivals from behind dark glasses … —Sam Marlowe


shaded; shading

Definition of shade (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to shelter or screen by intercepting radiated light or heat

b : to cover with a shade

2 : to hide partly by or as if by a shadow

3 : to darken with or as if with a shadow

4 : to better or exceed by a shade

5a : to represent the effect of shade or shadow on

b : to add shading to

c : to color so that the shades pass gradually from one to another

6 : to change by gradual transition or qualification

7 : to reduce slightly shade a price

8 : slant, bias

intransitive verb

1 : to pass by slight changes or imperceptible degrees

2 : to undergo or exhibit minute difference or variation

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Other words from shade


shadeless \ˈshād-ləs \ adjective


shader noun

Examples of shade in a Sentence


The buildings cast shade on the plaza. The tree provided plenty of shade. These plants grow well in shade. It was a hot sunny day, but luckily their seats for the game were in the shade. We sat in the shade of a willow tree. He used his hand as a shade as he looked out into the bright sunlight. a lamp with a broken shade She pulled down the shades. She was wearing a cool pair of shades.


Several large trees shade the house. She shaded the drawing to give it depth. The shaded part of the graph represents the amount of sales. The article shaded the truth by revealing only one side of the story.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Wilson then hit a grounder through the right side where Schoop would normally positioned at second base, but was shaded toward the bag, allowing Grossman to score. Eduardo A. Encina,, "After early outburst, Orioles offense sputters in 5-4 loss to Twins; team is 40 games under .500," 7 July 2018 Riding Hansson WL, European champion Fredricson came out on top in an eight-strong jump off with a clear round of 38.05 seconds, shading Dutchman Smolders, who won the Global Champions Tour overall title last season. CNN, "LGCT Cannes: Peter Fredricson denies World No.1 Harrie Smolders," 9 June 2018 And Steuart Pittman, a Democratic candidate for Anne Arundel County executive, had a slew of supporters in matching blue shirts on a flatbed trailer, shaded by umbrellas and clapping and waving signs in unison. Pamela Wood,, "Annapolis Independence Day parade honors freedom of the press, especially for The Capital," 5 July 2018 Blending eyeshadow is decidedly not easy, but this medium-sized brush features dense, tapered, synthetic bristles that are perfect for shading your creases and smoothing a lot of powder quickly without making any mess (or hard edges). Tanisha Pina, Allure, "Yes, E.L.F. Makeup Is Under $1 — But Only for a Limited Time," 13 June 2018 Before it was shielded from view by crime scene screens, the man's body could be seen just off the sidewalk and shaded by oak trees. Hanna Krueger,, "Man killed in St. Roch shooting Thursday morning, New Orleans police say," 24 May 2018 How to freshen up before photos, shade your guests with market umbrellas, and take the sweaty dance floor by storm. Lauren Levy, The Cut, "The Everything Guide to Staying Cool at a Summer Wedding," 12 Apr. 2018 The man was perhaps in his early fifties, his pale eyebrows and wire-rimmed, almost invisible glasses shaded by a baseball cap with the Blackwater logo on it. David Sedaris, The New Yorker, "Active Shooter," 17 Mar. 2018 Areas in red along the Canadian border, West Coast and Gulf Coast seem to indicate Gilead's war front; a large chunk of the Southwest and lower Midwest are shaded yellow with what appear to be radioactive symbols - the Colonies, perhaps. Hank Stuever,, "We survived another grueling season of 'The Handmaid's Tale,' but here are 3 things we need from Season 3," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shade.' 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 shade


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


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for shade


Middle English, from Old English sceadu; akin to Old High German scato shadow, Greek skotos darkness

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Statistics for shade

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Time Traveler for shade

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

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More Definitions for shade



English Language Learners Definition of shade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an area of slight darkness that is produced when something blocks the light of the sun

: something that is used to block strong light

: a darkened area in a drawing, painting, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of shade (Entry 2 of 2)

: to shelter (something) from strong light and especially from sunlight

: to make an area in a drawing, on a graph, etc., darker than other areas

: to change (something, such as the truth) slightly in order to deceive people


\ ˈshād \

Kids Definition of shade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : space sheltered from light or heat and especially from the sun I needed to sit in the shade of a tree.

2 : partial darkness The trees cast shade.

3 : something that blocks off or cuts down light a lamp shade a window shade

4 : the darkness or lightness of a color four shades of brown

5 : a very small difference or amount He's just a shade taller than me.

6 : ghost, spirit

7 : the darkening of some objects in a painting or drawing to suggest that they are in shade


shaded; shading

Kids Definition of shade (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to shelter from light or heat I shaded my eyes with a hand.

2 : to mark with or turn a darker color The shaded parts of the graph show growth. Her face shaded purple with embarrassment.

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Comments on shade

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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