\ ˈshād How to pronounce shade (audio) \

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
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 pluralshades 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shade


shadeless \ ˈshād-​ləs How to pronounce shadeless (audio) \ adjective


shader noun

Synonyms for shade

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of shade in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Like the Purple-ish Pixel 3a and Not Pink Pixel 3, the shade of blue here is very light and unassuming. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "The Google Pixel 4a is finally available in a color other than black—at least for now," 16 Nov. 2020 For outdoor workers, one simple—but not always easy—fix is to move to the shade. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Heat is killing more people than ever. Scientists are looking for ways to lower the risk," 12 Nov. 2020 Parked beneath the shade of magnolia trees, street vendors sell fresh melons and mangoes — some dusted with ground cayenne peppers. Lynell George, Los Angeles Times, "‘A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky’ reveals Octavia E. Butler’s early life in Pasadena," 11 Nov. 2020 But for the British royals, the shade is a lot more subtle. Natalie Morin,, "Apparently, The Royal Family Shaded Prince Harry With A Wreath," 10 Nov. 2020 Oprah's favorite shade of Mented lipstick is Nude Lala. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "10 things we recommend buying from Oprah’s Favorite Things of 2020," 6 Nov. 2020 Under the shade of a tent and a couple of crape myrtle trees, the Oklahoma crew popped bottles and can tabs with a handful of Walker’s family members and other friends. Dallas News, "Ribs, ritual and rivalry: Red River Showdown brings Texas, OU fans together over food and football," 11 Oct. 2020 Finding just the right shade was tricky, said Strom. Kim Palmer, Star Tribune, "Accessory dwelling unit in Minneapolis is 'bonus family room' for young family," 2 Oct. 2020 Audrey DuBose, the mother of Sam DuBose, spoke under the park's shade as a crowd listened, some holding Black Lives Matter signs. The Enquirer, "Audrey DuBose at Ohio Families march: 'I'm feeling their pain'," 25 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Democrats have long been mocked for hoping to shade Republican strongholds, such as Texas, blue. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "How the Electoral College map has changed after the 2020 election," 18 Nov. 2020 The state, which has trended bluer in the past decade, is indisputably purple — and is likely to shade even further blue in the future. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "Georgia solidifies its swing-state status thanks, in part, to Stacey Abrams," 5 Nov. 2020 Mature pine trees shade the entry, which features a stone portico that accesses a romantic sun room. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Director Sean Anders lists La Crescenta home that inspired his movie ‘Instant Family’," 28 Oct. 2020 The smoke was believed to shade and cool the rivers and streams, inspiring salmon to spawn. Peter Fimrite,, "California tribe offered solution to wildfire management. Was U.S. Forest Service listening?," 11 Oct. 2020 Johnson had pretty good position but needed to shade to the inside understanding that Evans is a big-body wide receiver who can shield defensive backs. Brad Biggs,, "3 observations from rewatching the Chicago Bears’ Week 5 win, including the red-zone defense and what’s next after James Daniels’ injury," 11 Oct. 2020 Put them in a spot with a couple of hours of morning sun and shade the rest of the day. Dan Gill,, "Pink or blue for hydrangea blooms: The amount of alumium ions in the soil makes the difference," 30 Sep. 2020 Their leaves reflect away some incoming solar heat and shade the ground below. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "Racist housing policies have created some oppressively hot neighborhoods," 2 Sep. 2020 Speculating that the meme was hinted at Richards, some social commentators replied to Girardi's message calling out the star for seeming to shade the Wild Things actress. Nicholas Rice,, "Erika Girardi Seemingly Shades Denise Richards Following News of Her RHOBH Exit," 10 Sep. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shade

Time Traveler for shade

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for shade

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shade


How to pronounce shade (audio)

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


\ ˈshād How to pronounce shade (audio) \

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.
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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!