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

Gold and pink shimmers with an accent of mint shadow for a totally Instagrammable contrast. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "Smashbox Teamed Up with Influencer Jasmine Sanders to Launch 7 New Mini Eye Palettes," 11 July 2018 And the lighting, also by Mr. Taylor, makes the space and performers even more thrilling, sometimes with effects of shadow and silhouette. New York Times, "Review: Pam Tanowitz’s ‘Four Quartets’ Hits Poetic Heights," 8 July 2018 Subsequently, Emery will be keen to get out of Wenger's shadow and create his own history at the club. SI.com, "Unai Emery Makes 'Drastic Changes' to Arsenal Regime and Training Methods," 8 July 2018 Especially for a designer who's reclusive ways have made him more of an industry shadow than an industry star? refinery29.com, "Hedi Slimane's New Céline Is Almost Here," 5 July 2018 Russia hopes its surprise World Cup success is finally bringing it out of the shadow of the Sochi Olympics, which were tainted by widespread doping and accusations the government was complicit. James Ellingworth, The Seattle Times, "Russia tries to shake off doping scandals at World Cup," 3 July 2018 Russia hopes its surprise World Cup success is finally bringing it out of the shadow of the Sochi Olympics, which were tainted by widespread doping and accusations the government was complicit. Washington Post, "Russia tries to shake off doping scandals at World Cup," 3 July 2018 Each palette is about the size of a Post-it and contains nine shades of shadow. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "I Love This Tiny Eye-Shadow Palette," 20 June 2018 Neymar wanted to leave, in part, to get out of Messi’s shadow in Barcelona. Alex Ward, Vox, "Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Salah, and many more.," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Romantic writers and painters have struggled to capture the wistfulness of that ocean air, the cloud shadowing those sunny skies; poets have called it forth with the squawk of the seagull. Pat Cunnane, WSJ, "Goodbye to Summer, Just as It Begins," 5 July 2018 Fifteen-year Major League veteran Moe Berg embarks on a dangerous mission, shadowing German physicist Werner Heisenberg for the OSS during World War II. Kevin Crust, latimes.com, "L.A. movie openings, June 22," 17 June 2018 Yet Salah has also become another pawn in the power politics shadowing the global game. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "How the World Cup reflects the world," 14 June 2018 But standout sophomore attackman Jeff Teat was held without a goal on one shot and two assists as Maryland shut him off by assigning sophomore defenseman Jack Welding to shadow him all over the field. Edward Lee, baltimoresun.com, "Reigning men's lacrosse champ Maryland beats Cornell, 13-8, returns to national semifinals," 20 May 2018 But getting the chance, as a high school freshman, to meet LaFace Records head of promotion Shanti Das at a career-planning class and then shadow her for a day inspired her to take a label internship. Billboard, "How Ethiopia Habtemariam Became Universal Music Group's Most Powerful African-American Woman: 'I Love Proving People Wrong'," 28 June 2018 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

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

24 Oct 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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