\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

Synonyms for shade

Synonyms: Noun

dusk, penumbra, shadiness, shadow, umbra

Synonyms: Verb


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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

Truly, the couple that shades together stays together. Constance Grady, Vox, "The best part of Michelle Obama’s new memoir is how much smack she talks about her husband," 13 Nov. 2018 Zayn Malik In his 2016 Billboard interview, Zayn subtly shaded ex Perrie Edwards. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, "18 Celebs Who Threw Massive Amounts of Shade at Their Exes," 17 Oct. 2018 In an alleyway shaded by a weeping fig tree, Bún Cá Sâm Cây Si is known for delicious nem cá: deep-fried spring rolls filled with wood-ear mushrooms, minced pork, scallion, and tender fish. Peter Jon Lindberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "Hanoi, Time and Again," 20 Nov. 2018 Where modest single-story homes shaded by tall pines and leafy trees stood at the beginning of last week, little remained but ash and rubble. Erin Ailworth, WSJ, "After Paradise Fire, a Hunt for Human Remains Among the Ashes," 16 Nov. 2018 Lines extended around parking lots as customers waited in the summer heat, even holding out umbrellas to shade them from the sun. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Build-A-Bear closes lines for 'Pay Your Age' sale at US stores amid chaos," 13 July 2018 Some brought umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun’s final golden rays. Robert Downen, Houston Chronicle, "Santa Fe pauses to celebrate graduates two weeks after school shooting," 1 June 2018 Some island bartenders shade it with a miniature Japanese parasol. Stanton Delaplane, San Francisco Chronicle, "In a little grass shack, Stanton Delaplane, 1975," 9 May 2018 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

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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More from Merriam-Webster on shade

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shade

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shade

Spanish Central: Translation of shade

Nglish: Translation of shade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shade for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about shade

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).


a nest or breeding place

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