shadow

noun
shad·ow | \ ˈsha-(ˌ)dō \

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, -də-ləs \ adjective
shadowlike \ˈsha-dō-ˌlīk, -də-ˌlīk \ adjective

Verb

shadower \ˈsha-dō-ər, -də-wər \ noun

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

The only thing the neighborhood uprising preserved was the historical character of what was once a liquor store in the shadow of the Central Artery. Nestor Ramos, BostonGlobe.com, "Weep not for Starbucks. But in the North End, what comes next?," 12 July 2018 And Jesy's look, which was on the more subdued end of the spectrum, featured a somewhat monochromatic palette of pinks and purples, shimmering in shadow on her top lids and the inner corners of her eyes. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Little Mix Celebrates Pride with Rainbow Makeup and a Message for LGBTQ+ Fans," 9 July 2018 Long in the shadow of the city across the bay and nestled between liberal Berkeley and the exploding tech expanse of Silicon Valley, Oakland (pop. Jen Yamato, latimes.com, "Beyond 'Black Panther': Thanks to a wave of homegrown filmmakers, Oakland is having a Hollywood moment," 7 July 2018 In the shadow of downtown's McCarty Building, Tasmyn Raleigh sat in a fold-up chair in front of her new shop. Brandon Rasmussen, idahostatesman, "Plant yourself at this new spot now open for coffee, tea in Boise," 5 July 2018 Several hundred people stood in steamy heat for the ceremony in the shadow of the 630-foot-tall monument to westward expansion that sits along the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis. Philip Kennicott, kansascity, "St. Louis’ Gateway Arch emerges with new name, skeptical view of western expansion," 3 July 2018 Several hundred people stood in steamy heat for a ceremony in the shadow of the 630-foot-tall (192-meter-tall) monument to westward expansion that sits along the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis. Jim Salter, The Seattle Times, "Renovated museum opens as part of $380M Gateway Arch project," 3 July 2018 Even after decades of stagnation in the shadow of China’s economic rise, Japan is still among the 10 wealthiest nations with more than 10 million people in terms of GDP per capita. Yoshiaki Nohara, Bloomberg.com, "In One of the World’s Richest Countries, Most Single Mothers Live in Poverty," 24 June 2018 Sipary was named this year's derby winner Saturday afternoon at the end of the week-long derby at Ship Creek, where anglers battle with king salmon in the shadow of a downtown skyline. Bob Hallinen, Anchorage Daily News, "Photos: Final day of Anchorage’s annual Slam’n Salm’n Derby," 18 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The drone fires off a message via satellite and continues to shadow the fishing boats from a distance. The Economist, "Avast, me hearties," 5 July 2018 In addition to Kylie, he's shadowed Kim, Kourtney, and their kids. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "8 Facts About Kylie Jenner's Super Hot Bodyguard, Tim Chung," 9 May 2018 USA Today shadowed Martin on one of his trips, reporting that Martin visited as many as 10 schools. Tim Rohan, SI.com, "Jonathan Martin’s Life in the Shadows," 2 Mar. 2018 From the producers of Castle, another series about a nonpolice officer shadowing a detective and then getting involved in police work. Ellen Gray, Philly.com, "TV picks: 'Shades of Blue,' a North Philly 'Quest,' 'Yellowstone,' 'Luke Cage' and more," 15 June 2018 Hull did her part in the 1,500, patiently shadowing leader Elinor Purrier of New Hampshire, who determinedly pushed the pace for the first three laps. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "USC claims the NCAA women's track championship as the Oregon Ducks wilt in the rain," 9 June 2018 Unlike the hand-wringing that has shadowed the drinking life in the United States, the Brits still tend to have an indulgent attitude to bingeing. New York Times, "Sloshed, Hammered, Blotto — We’ve Been Doing It for Ages," 30 May 2018 The idea is to give visitors a voyeuristic view of the rest of the exhibit, as well as a glimpse of the surveillance that shadows shopping. Cathy Horyn, The Cut, "Eckhaus Latta Will Open a Shoppable Gallery Show at the Whitney," 29 May 2018 Its Alipay has been instrumental in driving Alibaba’s core business and is increasingly employed in physical stores around the world, shadowing the movements of Chinese tourists. Bloomberg.com, "Temasek Is in Talks on Ant Funding of Over $10 Billion," 10 Apr. 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

12 Sep 2018

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 \

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) \

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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