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

Silvery shadows are creeping steadily into Southcentral Alaska streams as the coho salmon run picks up in advance of fall. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "As fall nears, fishing focus turns to cohos," 9 Aug. 2019 In Mars' thin atmosphere, light is not scattered much, so the shadows cast by the yardangs are sharp and dark. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Curiosity rover makes new discoveries on Mars," 6 Aug. 2019 The sun starts to set, and shadows stretch over the landscape so that the larger dunes appear to smother the smaller dunes until nothing is left but silhouettes. Jennifer Emerling, National Geographic, "Seeking silence on a California road trip," 6 Aug. 2019 The shadow of Trumpian politics hanging over this violence is now impossible to ignore. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump goes soft on terrorism," 6 Aug. 2019 If this behind-the-scenes video from the campaign photo shoot is any evidence, those shadows SPARKLE. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Jackie Aina Designed a New Anastasia Beverly Hills Palette for Dark Skin Tones," 5 Aug. 2019 Instead of lamenting bizarre circumstances, Griffin scapegoated the Pelicans’ substandard training facility, a shadow of what the Saints enjoy across the hall. Jake Fischer, SI.com, "How David Griffin Rebuilt the Pelicans and His World," 1 Aug. 2019 See that dark shadow making its way straight for the shore & those people? Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Terrifying Drone Footage Shows a Shark Swimming Dangerously Close to Kids on the Beach," 31 July 2019 The shadows add lovely contrast, especially if Spider Rock is brightly lit against a darker canyon. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Here are 10 of Arizona's most photogenic spots. Some of them might surprise you," 26 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This is the third year that interns have shadowed linemen in the field. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "CPS Energy prepares next generation of San Antonio utility workers," 31 July 2019 The most important resource, at least in the short term, is water ice, which is abundant on the floors of permanently shadowed polar craters. Leonard David, Scientific American, "Will Future Lunar Bases Be Underground?," 31 July 2019 The gray smoke overtook the sky, shadowing the San Francisco Peaks and Mount Elden. Andrew Nicla, azcentral, "Flagstaff residents on edge as 800-acre Museum Fire grows closer," 22 July 2019 Barbara LaButis contributed three pieces, all white charcoal on black paper of a steer, turtle and seagull, all beautifully rendered and shadowed. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Animal lovers, you’re going to want to line your walls with these artworks from the ‘Animalia’ exhibit at Arts Center East," 22 July 2019 With the primary approaching, Mississippi Today planned the outlet's coverage, which included shadowing each of the three Republican candidates. al.com, "Mississippi politician tells female reporter she must have chaperone," 11 July 2019 After all, NBFCs have played a catalysing role in financing economic growth, and are not really shadow banks in the Indian context. Shachindra Nath, Quartz India, "India’s NBFCs, wrongly called shadow banks, need the government’s backing," 3 July 2019 But Sean Ragan, who heads the Sacramento FBI office, said fellow agents in Georgia shadowed Manteuffel and recovered a DNA sample from a restaurant that matched samples from the crime scenes. Don Thompson, The Mercury News, "‘John Doe DNA’ from 1992 matched to suspect in 3 Northern California rapes," 2 July 2019 But during totality, all of Earth’s sunsets and sunrises trickle through our atmosphere to tinge the moon’s shadowed surface. Korey Haynes, Discover Magazine, "Earth's Moon: The Basics of its Origin, Evolution and Exploration," 12 June 2019

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

15 Aug 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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