shadow

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

Definition of shadow

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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

shadow

verb
shadowed; shadowing; shadows

Definition of shadow (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

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

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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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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 Dappled light breaks through the canopy above, and in the clear water, scales reflect a trail of light as fish dart away from the shadow of my passing boat. Southern Living, "The Ultimate Guide to the Great Calusa Blueway," 12 July 2020 On first blush, that relationship could be characterized as Oedipal, a quest by the son to step out from the long shadow cast by the father. Mark Brilliant, Washington Post, "The prescient politics and policies of Jerry Brown," 10 July 2020 Less spectacular than a total lunar eclipse, a penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves through the outer part of Earth's shadow (known as the penumbra). Editors, USA TODAY, "Fourth of July, Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, penumbral lunar eclipse: 5 things to know this weekend," 5 July 2020 Tonight’s eclipse is known as a partial penumbral lunar eclipse, an eclipse that occurs when the moon passes through the outer edges of the Earth’s shadow, known as the pendumbra. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Lunar eclipse of Buck Moon on July 4: What to know," 4 July 2020 Bruce Wayne may have given us the signal on Earth, but there's a bat shadow in deep space. Fox News, "Hubble Telescope finds flapping 'Bat Shadow' in deep space," 26 June 2020 That debt cast a shadow over the company’s finances. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "GNC files for bankruptcy, will close up to 1,200 stores," 25 June 2020 Instead, the dejected 24-year-old returned to the bus and penned a July 1992 journal entry that cast an ominous shadow over his return. J.d. Simkins, Sunset Magazine, "Iconic “Into the Wild” Bus Removed from Alaska Trail," 19 June 2020 Russian efforts to influence the election cast a long shadow over American politics. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Fiona Hill: Moscow must be delighted at how it sowed political chaos in America," 12 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The navy is then left with no option but to shadow the boats. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "The Mainstream Media Won’t Tell You This," 12 June 2020 In the second year, students shadow training officers, before returning full time for a third year focused on investigations and completing a thesis paper. Graham Kates, CBS News, "Some U.S. police train for just a few weeks, in some countries they train for years," 10 June 2020 This sense of cosmic vastness shadowed me across the rolling farms of the Maya lowlands to La Lancha, where cheery wooden casitas hung with traditional textiles sit on a hillside so steep there's a funicular to get guests to Lake Petén Itzá below. Julien Capmeil, Condé Nast Traveler, "In Guatemala, Eco-Retreats and Arts Collectives Blend Seamlessly with Tradition," 30 Mar. 2020 With schools closed, their 3-year-old daughter shadows them everywhere. Matt Apuzzo, New York Times, "Covid-19’s Economic Pain Is Universal. But Relief? Depends on Where You Live.," 23 Mar. 2020 The lack of professionalism, the incompetence is the kind of thing that not only shocks a party but shadows it. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "The Democrats’ Unserious Week," 6 Feb. 2020 The Texans' special teams captain adeptly covers backs and tight ends, shadowing them in coverage. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans have difficult task: replacing injured Dylan Cole," 25 Nov. 2019 More than a couple cars shadowed me on the Ohio Turnpike. Henry Payne, chicagotribune.com, "Toyota Corolla Hatchback is wallflower no more," 25 Oct. 2019 As Gurley ran toward the right corner of the end zone, linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. shadowed him. Los Angeles Times, "Todd Gurley’s spectacular touchdown catch ignites Rams’ scoring machine in win," 20 Oct. 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 2

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4

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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Time Traveler for shadow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for shadow

Last Updated

2 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shadow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shadow. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for shadow

shadow

noun
How to pronounce shadow (audio)

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.
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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