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

intransitive verb

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

shadow box

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: 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
In the course of the same afternoon, Larry and Lewis wind up debating the relative attractiveness of penises, shadowboxing with a demanding blind man, and besmirching a restaurant captain who felt entitled to his own gratuity. Larry Fitzmaurice, Vulture, 8 Apr. 2024 Although Tokyo and Beijing have been shadowboxing over the territory for years, the standoff reached a new low in the fall, when the Japanese government nationalized some of the islands by purchasing them from a private owner. Allen Carlson, Foreign Affairs, 21 Feb. 2013 The pope and Sylvester then mimicked shadowboxing each other, in reference to Sylvester's iconic boxing film franchise. Tommy McArdle, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 2023 Some of this was explicitly religious—the school bus folks expected Jesus’ imminent advent in the clouds—and some of it was political, but much of it was vague, something in the air, in the songs that floated through my childhood, shadowboxing the apocalypse. Michael Robbins, Harper's Magazine, 9 Nov. 2022 The two shadowboxed in their corners before the fight began. Zoë Bernard, Rolling Stone, 4 June 2023 The opera shadowboxes without quite landing a punch. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2023 The kinetic charge extends to a two-channel video of a man shadowboxing. Siddhartha Mitter, New York Times, 19 Mar. 2020 And that escalated to the fight.’’ Embiid shadowboxed to the crowd’s delight on his way back to the locker room., 31 Oct. 2019
At her retirement party, Matka received a certificate acknowledging her years of service, a shadow box of memorabilia, a Hungarian passport (her country of origin), a collar and other patches from her training. Anika Besst, Twin Cities, 20 May 2024 Display them in shadow boxes to create your own custom art. Maggie Gillette, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 May 2024 Options will include a classic white or black frame and a shadow box frame in aluminum and charcoal. Jennifer Pattison Tuohy, The Verge, 30 Jan. 2024 The Skylight Cal Max is available to preorder now for $599 or $629 for the shadow box frame option. Jennifer Pattison Tuohy, The Verge, 30 Jan. 2024 But pop-up parties have begun to appear on rooftops, in basements, and at run-down cantinas like the bizarre and beautiful La Faena, decorated with dusty shadow boxes of toreadors' costumes. Michael Snyder, Travel + Leisure, 27 Nov. 2023 But to see Louise Nevelson’s clusters of black or white shadow boxes is immediately to identify their creator. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 6 Sep. 2023 For months, the shadow box advertised Charles Cleveland Day. Joseph Goodman |, al, 4 May 2023 And in a unique design format, the set builds into a shadow box that opens up to reveal a highly detailed Batcave with display pieces and Batman iconography. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shadowbox.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1924, in the meaning defined above


1891, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shadowbox was in 1891

Dictionary Entries Near shadowbox

Cite this Entry

“Shadowbox.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


shad·​ow·​box ˈshad-ō-ˌbäks How to pronounce shadowbox (audio)
: to box with an imaginary opponent as a form of training
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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