shadow

noun
shad·​ow | \ ˈsha-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce shadow (audio) \

Definition of shadow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : partial darkness or obscurity within a part of space from which rays from a source of light are cut off by an interposed opaque body
2 : a reflected image
3 : shelter from danger or observation
4a : an imperfect and faint representation
b : an imitation of something : copy
5 : the dark figure cast upon a surface by a body intercepting the rays from a source of light
6 : phantom
7 shadows plural : dark sense 1a
8 : a shaded or darker portion of a picture
9 : an attenuated form or a vestigial remnant
10a : an inseparable companion or follower
b : one (such as a spy or detective) who shadows someone
11 : a small degree or portion : trace
12 : a source of gloom or unhappiness
13a : an area near an object : vicinity
b : pervasive and dominant influence
14 : a state of ignominy or obscurity

shadow

verb
shadowed; shadowing; shadows

Definition of shadow (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 archaic : shelter, protect
2 : to cast a shadow upon : cloud
3 obsolete : to shelter from the sun
4 obsolete : conceal
5 : to represent or indicate obscurely or faintly often used with forth or out
6a : to follow especially secretly : trail
b : to accompany and observe especially in a professional setting
7 archaic : shade sense 5

intransitive verb

1 : to pass gradually or by degrees
2 : to become overcast with or as if with shadows

shadow

adjective

Definition of shadow (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : of, relating to, or resembling a shadow cabinet shadow minister of defense
2a : having an indistinct pattern shadow plaid
b : having darker sections of design shadow lace

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Other Words from shadow

Noun

shadowless \ ˈsha-​dō-​ləs How to pronounce shadowless (audio) , -​də-​ləs \ adjective
shadowlike \ ˈsha-​dō-​ˌlīk How to pronounce shadowlike (audio) , -​də-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Verb

shadower \ ˈsha-​dō-​ər How to pronounce shadower (audio) , -​də-​wər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for shadow

Synonyms: Noun

dusk, penumbra, shade, shadiness, umbra

Synonyms: Verb

bird-dog, chase, course, dog, follow, hound, pursue, run, tag, tail, trace, track, trail

Antonyms: Verb

guide, lead, pilot

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Examples of shadow in a Sentence

Noun

The tree cast a long shadow across the lawn. You can see your own shadow on a sunny day. Part of the valley was in shadow. He saw something moving in the shadows. I sensed a shadow of disappointment in his expression.

Verb

Police shadowed the suspect for several days. She spent the night shadowing other waiters at the restaurant.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Presidential hopefuls are stepping out of the shadows, but their 2020 announcements are far from spontaneous. Jacob Schlesinger, WSJ, "Elizabeth Warren Calls for Breakup of Amazon, Google, Facebook," 8 Mar. 2019 Taken together, these laws are intended to pull the actions of police departments out of the shadows, something that police reform advocates and racial justice activists have repeatedly called for. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "A California city plans to shred years of police records before a new law makes them public," 27 Dec. 2018 Another highlight of the palette is two of the shadows were specifically formulated to use wet for the ultimate foil finish. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Dose of Colors Is Dropping a Second Desi x Katy Collection on September 24," 17 Sep. 2018 Since there's no better time than summer to shake up your rotation of shadows, use these looks as your inspo starting point — then go wild. Eden Univer, Seventeen, "4 Lemonade-Inspired Eyeshadow Looks from the Summer's Sweetest Palette," 16 July 2018 Out of the shadows Twenty years ago, a brilliant generation of French players led by Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry took the national team to unprecedented heights by winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup on home soil. Juan Pimiento, chicagotribune.com, "Ronaldo's shock transfer, the World Cup semis and the best of the week in soccer," 12 July 2018 As sports betting moves out of the shadows in the United States, strange bedfellows might be exposed. New York Times, "When Sports Betting Is Legal, the Value of Game Data Soars," 2 July 2018 But then again, England won a penalty shootout the other day, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that all things do indeed come to an end. SI.com, "World Cup Preview: Uruguay vs France - Recent Form, Team News, Predictions and More," 5 July 2018 More: His legacy secure, LeBron James is a Cleveland hero forever even with Lakers decision Hobbled by injuries, Bryant was a shadow of his former self his last few seasons before retiring in 2016. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Lakers hope LeBron will help them reclaim spotlight of Showtime era," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Reports of the investigation have shadowed Kering for several years, worrying investors over the company’s potential tax liabilities. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, "Italy Sends Gucci Owner a Nearly $1.6 Billion Tax Bill," 25 Jan. 2019 The Seminoles’ Terance Mann, who had switched off Snider to guard King with the ball exchange, shadowed King’s steps and then swatted away his shot. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "End-of-game blocked shot blunts a Cards comeback | Tim Sullivan," 3 Feb. 2018 In this case, the pool reporters shadowing Trump’s movements were positioned ahead of time across the street from Blair House and were not in the motorcade, which included at least eight vehicles, according to video footage. David Nakamura, The Seattle Times, "Trump uses eight-vehicle motorcade to travel 250 yards to greet George W. Bush," 4 Dec. 2018 Today, pro football still rides high, but the growing awareness of the brain trauma caused by the brutality Mr. Eisenberg highlights shadows its future. Edward Kosner, WSJ, "‘The League’ Review: Single Wing and a Prayer," 6 Nov. 2018 Delino had a few things to say about growing up with Diamond, shadowing dad Delino Sr. Phil Thompson, chicagotribune.com, "Rangers' Delino DeShields reflects on Sky's Diamond DeShields, Cubs memories and vexing the White Sox," 2 July 2018 That means, while signing, the interpreters will become part of the show, shadowing the actors. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Little Mermaid' swims into Shakespeare Theater," 7 June 2018 Both Facebook and Twitter have both grappled with incidents of discrimination against conservatives, which may have made them gun-shy about banning (as opposed to shadow-banning) some folks. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Big Tech bans Alex Jones: Drawing a line between commentary and conspiracy," 7 Aug. 2018 Things start to look up about halfway through the film when Kayla befriends a genuinely nice high school senior, Olivia (Emily Robinson), during a high school shadowing day. Chelsea Greenwood Lassman, Teen Vogue, "Elsie Fisher in "Eighth Grade" Is a Necessary, Honest Portrayal of Modern Adolescence," 18 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shadow.' 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 shadow

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1906, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shadow

Noun

Middle English shadwe, from Old English sceaduw-, sceadu shade

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Statistics for shadow

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shadow

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

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More Definitions for shadow

shadow

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shadow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a dark shape that appears on a surface when someone or something moves between the surface and a source of light
: an area of darkness created when a source of light is blocked
: a very small amount of something

shadow

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shadow (Entry 2 of 3)

: to cover (something) with a shadow
: to follow and watch (someone) especially in a secret way
: to follow and watch (someone who is doing a job) in order to learn how to do the job yourself

shadow

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of shadow (Entry 3 of 3)

used to describe the members of the main opposition party in British politics who would be given important positions in the government if their party won a national election

shadow

noun
shad·​ow | \ ˈsha-dō How to pronounce shadow (audio) \

Kids Definition of shadow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the dark figure cast on a surface by a body that is between the surface and the light My shadow stays with me.
2 : shade entry 1 sense 2 The valley was in shadow.
3 : phantom
4 : a very little bit : trace I believe his story beyond a shadow of doubt.
5 : something that causes a bad feeling The news cast a shadow over the party.
6 shadows plural : darkness caused by the setting of the sun

shadow

verb
shadowed; shadowing

Kids Definition of shadow (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cast a shadow upon Trees shadowed the ground.
2 : to follow and watch closely especially in a secret way

shadow

noun
shad·​ow | \ ˈshad-(ˌ)ō, -ə(-w) How to pronounce shadow (audio) \

Medical Definition of shadow

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : partial darkness or obscurity within a part of space from which rays from a source of light are cut off by an interposed opaque body
b : a dark outline or image on an X-ray photograph where the X-rays have been blocked by a radiopaque mass (as a tumor)
2 : a colorless or slightly pigmented or stained body (as a degenerate cell or empty membrane) only faintly visible under the microscope

Medical Definition of shadow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to perform shadow-casting on freeze-dried and shadowed myosin molecules

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More from Merriam-Webster on shadow

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shadow

Spanish Central: Translation of shadow

Nglish: Translation of shadow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shadow for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shadow

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