\ 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 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

Other Words from shade


shadeless \ ˈshād-​ləs How to pronounce shade (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 With its enchanting stone castle, spell-binding tunnel of shade trees, knee-high fairy houses and hundreds of butterflies fluttering between vast and varied garden spaces — if ever there was a secret garden in Kentucky, this is it. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, 27 June 2022 The walk this reporter took with Hayman and Kristine Lee, children’s manager, is a nice stroll on the front lawn, featuring sidewalks and huge shade trees. Linda Gandee, cleveland, 27 June 2022 Peppering this soothing landscape are numerous seating options to chill — some in the shade and others in direct sun — whether in a hammock, ornate wrought iron chair (with lime green or red cushions) or a chez. Jeanine Barone, Forbes, 27 June 2022 Those trees have grown rapidly and now drape the wetland in shade, attracting a variety of birds, such as yellow warblers, blue-gray gnatcatchers and vermilion flycatchers. Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2022 Park in the shade Try to find at least a semi-shaded area to park your car to keep its temperature down. Victoria Moorwood, The Enquirer, 22 June 2022 Knox Parks will plant 28 shade trees and five fruit trees divided among six Hartford schools. Ted Glanzer, Hartford Courant, 20 June 2022 Heat stresses plants, requiring more water to maintain healthy landscaping and shade trees. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 4 May 2022 Climate control: Umbrellas, shade trees, overhangs, fans, misters and heaters. Robin Soslow, Chron, 25 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When buying a drugstore foundation, are there any tricks to shade match? ELLE, 28 June 2022 The galley is covered by the boat’s hardtop which features a deployable electric bimini top to shade the rear seats. Howard Walker, Robb Report, 24 June 2022 Also make sure to read what the plant tag says about how much sun or shade the flower prefers. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 26 May 2022 Whenever Embiid is able to establish deep post position, the Heat will have to shade multiple defenders his way. Bryan Toporek, Forbes, 6 May 2022 Mildewed curtains shade the toilet, a nasty mess of orangey brown. Longreads, 20 Apr. 2022 Expansive glass panels fill in the openings where there were freight doors, and steel awnings shade the windows. oregonlive, 6 Apr. 2022 Trees also shade the Earth, and their leaves transpire, cooling whole regions of the planet in much the same way that sweating prevents our bodies from overheating. Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2022 Squash plants have large leaves that shade the ground, which helps prevent weeds and promotes moisture retention in the soil. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, The Arizona Republic, 25 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near shade



shaded-pole motor

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for shade

Last Updated

30 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for shade


\ 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.
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on shade

Nglish: Translation of shade for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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