\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

Here are tips from Washington Post gardening columnist Adrian Higgins: — Herbs like full sun, free-draining soil and an open and airy location, as opposed to shade, heavy clay soil and thick wood mulches. Becky Krystal, The Seattle Times, "How to pick the most useful herbs to plant in your back yard," 26 June 2018 The introduction class takes place under a shaded, lit ramada, but the park’s archery range also has five other courses. Laura Latzko, azcentral, "Experience fishing, archery, mountain biking or scorpion hunting at Arizona parks," 25 May 2018 Nowadays, the view from Dr. Hourizadeh’s waiting area is of people sitting at tables shaded by orange umbrellas. James Barron, New York Times, "Lounge in Them. Dash Through Them. But Don’t Call Them Parks.," 13 July 2018 Trees reduce output, savings Solar panels need direct sunlight, so homes heavily shaded by trees are not good candidates, officials from American Solar and Roofing and SunHarvest Solar say. Ryan Randazzo, azcentral, "Should you install solar on your home? 10 key considerations," 4 July 2018 Drive 25 miles south, through the charming extra tiny towns of Forks of Salmon and Callahan, to the Carter Meadows Summit Trailhead and hike the extremely mellow 1.7 miles shaded by ponderosa pines to Hidden Lake. Joe Jackson, San Francisco Chronicle, "One Day, One Place: Etna, California," 8 June 2018 This secluded compound offers a choice of campers, shaded by oaks, avocado and plum trees. Larry Bleiberg, USA TODAY, "Glamping USA: Stay in a Hobbit hut, a covered wagon or a caboose," 25 May 2018 Exceptions will be made for buildings shaded by trees or taller buildings, or with roofs too small to accommodate photovoltaic panels. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "California first in nation to require solar panels on new homes," 10 May 2018 Ike came up with scenes as soft as a violin solo: A mill near a farmhouse, its gabled roof shaded by tree branches, standing in a field of the greenest grass. Bob Greene, WSJ, "The President and the Art of the Oil Painting," 23 Apr. 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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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