\ 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

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Other Words from shade


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


shader noun

Synonyms for shade

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Purple shampoos range in shade, all the way from a light lilac to a rich violet color. Sydney Poe,, "What is the best purple shampoo?," 4 Apr. 2021 In addition to zinnias as a replacement for the frozen cool-weather annuals, try begonias and penta in the shade and use vinca, cosmos, moss roses and purslane in the sun. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, "Summer flowers to plant now for nectar sources and color in your San Antonio garden," 2 Apr. 2021 At the residence, which was commissioned by lawyer and arts patron Arthur Milam in 1959, even the indoors felt like outdoors, and relaxing in the pit could feel like chilling on the beach in the shade of a giant umbrella. Alexandra Lange, Town & Country, "How to Save (and Live in) a Masterpiece of Modern Design," 29 Mar. 2021 Fortunately, what Orlando Wetlands lacks in shade is made up for by the many wildlife encounters possible at the park. Patrick Connolly,, "Florida Fresh Air: Orlando Wetlands Park is an oasis for birds, birders and photographers," 19 Mar. 2021 The couple could sit on the deck, and even in the shade of their trees, without bother. Lauren Markham, Harper's Magazine, "The Crow Whisperer," 16 Mar. 2021 These models will have screens that are brighter than ones designed to be used in the shade and will offer more protection against glare. Popular Science, "Best outdoor TV: For rooftop gatherings and patio parties," 11 Mar. 2021 Billie Gene brought that together with a sharp onyx winged liner, topped off by L'Oréal's Carbon Black Mascara and YSL's Lipstick in shade 144 Shoreditch Walk on the lips. Akili King, Vogue, "How Dominique Fishback’s “Brooklyn Princess” Beauty Look Came Together for the Critics Choice Awards," 9 Mar. 2021 Choose from 13 solid pastel colors, or better yet, get one in every shade. Sanah Faroke, Southern Living, "14 Stylish Sundresses on Amazon That’ll Update Your Spring Wardrobe—All Under $40," 5 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As Petrie is obliged to work ever harder to suppress his skeptical thoughts regarding Elefantin, his testament begins to shade into idolatry. Giles Harvey, The New Yorker, "Cynthia Ozick, Smasher of Idols," 5 Apr. 2021 Joe Burrow’s brilliance could shade that fact a little. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: 10 things from Cincinnati Bengals' loss to New York Giants," 4 Apr. 2021 For example, Ross's palette of sensible neutrals has shade names like Leather Pants, My Sandwich, and Break. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, "Friends and Revolution Beauty Dropped Another Makeup Collab," 1 Apr. 2021 And the Trump administration’s more general antagonism toward Beijing could often shade into dangerous territory. Washington Post, "The link between anti-China sentiment in Washington and anti-Asian violence," 24 Mar. 2021 Did Willie Mays need a card to tell him where to shade Duke Snider? Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "'Where did the jersey piping go?' and other petty sports beefs," 21 Mar. 2021 In one episode of the Netflix Top 10 project, a character takes a swipe at the Grammy-winning singer, trying to shade someone by comparing their relationship history to Swift's love life. Ineye Komonibo,, "Taylor Swift Responds To “Lazy, Deeply Sexist” Netflix Joke," 1 Mar. 2021 The Liv and Maddie star couldn't but help shade co-star and former beau Ryan McCartan during the Disney show's series finale. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, "25 Celebs Who Threw Massive Amounts of Shade at Their Exes," 4 Mar. 2021 Outside, there’s a pool and spa, and a patio with a cantilevered roof that opens and shuts to provide more sunlight or shade over the living space. Mary Grace Granados, Dallas News, "Take a look at this stately Dallas home with 7 bedrooms and plenty of entertaining space," 28 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for shade

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for shade

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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
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.
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

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