shad·​ow·​box | \ ˈsha-dō-ˌbäks How to pronounce shadowbox (audio) , -də-ˌbäks\
shadowboxed; shadowboxing; shadowboxes

Definition of shadowbox

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to box with an imaginary opponent especially as a form of training

shadow box


Definition of shadow box (Entry 2 of 2)

: a shallow enclosing case usually with a glass front in which something is set for protection and display

Examples of shadowbox in a Sentence

Verb He was shadowboxing to stay in shape.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Trump administration and parts of the Iranian government have each appeared to be desperately seeking an off-ramp, aware that any move from shadowboxing to open conflict could be disastrous. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Trump Says U.S. Downs Iranian Drone, Refueling Tensions as Both Nations Dig In," 18 July 2019 Not after Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis spent 15 minutes shadowboxing in one of the most bizarre (and boring) UFC fights in the 25-year history of the company. Steven Ruiz, For The Win, "Daniel Cormier and Brock Lesnar cut cringy promo for a fight we don't need," 8 July 2018 But Mayweather, a shadow of himself, plays defense when shadowboxing. Kevin Acee,, "Alvarez-Golovkin ready for real fight," 29 Aug. 2017 Michael Gonzalez, 46, owner of Verde Flowers on Lincoln Avenue was shadowboxing on a recent afternoon. Jaime Lowe, New York Times, "The South Bronx Boxing Gym at the Center of Gentrification," 17 Aug. 2017 In front of Somerset Station stood Joe Aster, shadowboxing in sandals, a softball shirt, and Buddy Holly glasses. Mike Newall,, "There's an answer to the heroin problem we need to try: Safe-injection sites," 14 July 2017 WASHINGTON — The simmering Senate debate over health care is about to to go from shadowboxing to the real thing. Jonathan Tamari,, "Even before GOP health care bill is introduced, battle lines clear in PA, NJ," 21 June 2017 Comey didn’t outright accuse Trump of obstruction, and neither Trump nor Kasowitz explicitly denied that Trump obstructed, but the two parties are shadowboxing around that question. Brian Beutler, New Republic, "Trump: I Am Not A Crook! Republicans: Trump Is a Liar, But Not a Crook!," 12 June 2017 Entering the stage in darkness and shadowboxing in silhouette was the easiest part, letting my punch combinations blend into the rhythm of the music. Mark Connor, Twin Cities, "St. Paul boxer finds his inner ballerina with St. Paul Ballet company," 12 Apr. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Investigators recovered Ream's dog tag from a shadow box at the grandmother's home in Chesapeake, Maryland. Michael Kunzelman,, "Virginia man pleads guilty in WWII dog tags theft in Maryland," 11 Nov. 2019 After all, the veteran has a shadow box hanging in his Brevard County home with an East German flag and a piece of the Berlin Wall. Patrick Connolly,, "Berlin Wall 30th Anniversary: Brevard County veteran recalls watching the wall fall," 8 Nov. 2019 The Times-News reported one grenade was found Thursday tucked inside a shadow box, and another was stored among other items of memorabilia belonging to the 94-year-old former soldier. USA TODAY, "Baby elephant, cougars, dognapper, burning treehouse: News from around our 50 states," 24 Oct. 2019 Singer accepted the lifetime position, a formal letter from the chief, and a custom shadow box bearing the department's badge and patches. Danny Hermosillo, Houston Chronicle, "KISS drummer sworn-in as honorary officer by Houston-area police department," 10 Sep. 2019 Off to the side, on the dressing-room floor, a shadow box from her manager showed Queen keepsakes and their JoJo analogs—the Queen Q crest and the JoJo Siwa heart, Mercury’s marque and her own. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Time, "'What Do People Want Me to Do? Wear Black Every Day?': How Child Star JoJo Siwa Built Her Sparkly Empire," 22 Aug. 2019 At times, his eyes were closed as he shadow boxed, imagining a win similar to Ruiz at MSG. Deepti Hajela, The Denver Post, "Historic Andy Ruiz boxing win jolts elation among Mexican Americans," 5 June 2019 Brazeau, who grew up in Winsted, now has the shadow box in his home in Georgia., "WWII Veteran John Canty Of Winsted Buried at Arlington," 10 July 2018 The guides advised us to shadow box as a way to warm the chilly water that crept into our wetsuits. Rick Warner,, "Trying out all the adventures Australia and New Zealand have to offer," 12 June 2018

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


1924, in the meaning defined above


1891, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for shadowbox

The first known use of shadowbox was in 1891

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How to pronounce shadow box (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of shadowbox

: to box with an imaginary opponent as a form of training

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shadowbox

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