shadow

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

Essential Meaning of shadow

1 : a dark shape that appears on a surface when someone or something moves between the surface and a source of light The tree cast/threw a long shadow across the lawn. You can see your own shadow on a sunny day.
2 : an area of darkness created when a source of light is blocked Part of the valley was in shadow. He saw something moving in the shadows.
3 : a very small amount of something I sensed a shadow of disappointment in his expression. There is not a shadow of (a) doubt [=there is no doubt] that he is lying.

Full 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

Other Words from shadow

Noun

shadowless \ ˈsha-​dō-​ləs How to pronounce shadow (audio) , -​də-​ləs \ adjective
shadowlike \ ˈsha-​dō-​ˌlīk How to pronounce shadow (audio) , -​də-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Verb

shadower \ ˈsha-​dō-​ər How to pronounce shadow (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 The four-minute presentation is billed as a child-friendly version of the story of Jesus’ birth, deploying shadow graphics, narration and a musical underscore. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 Nov. 2021 Slavery's long shadow over American history is constantly changing and shaping our understandings of the nation's ideals, freedom and progress. Beth Py-lieberman, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Nov. 2021 The whir of the refrigerator disappears, and the restless shadow of the ceiling fan attains a state of uncanny calm. Hurmat Kazmi, The Atlantic, 23 Nov. 2021 Reducing the sixth floor square footage would also mean less shadow cast on neighboring homes. J.k. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Nov. 2021 This formally experimental début story collection addresses the shadow of slavery in America. The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2021 Six points in 27 seconds, the ball never leaving the shadow of South Carolina’s basket, presaging the fourth-quarter meltdown. Dom Amore, courant.com, 22 Nov. 2021 From the shadow of his own end zone, the Seminole running back ripped off a 67-yard run through the heart of the Rams’ defense. Travis David, orlandosentinel.com, 20 Nov. 2021 In time, the moon emerged from shadow, to set in the west, and to rise again Friday. Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Throughout the film, the cinematography remains buttery and bright, comfortingly accentuating the play between light and shadow. Tomris Laffly, Variety, 17 Nov. 2021 Carol Reed is one of cinema’s kings of light and shadow. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 2 Nov. 2021 The Ravens will likely mix coverages Sunday, meaning Humphrey won’t be asked to shadow Chase all afternoon. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, 22 Oct. 2021 Students in the program are allowed to observe/shadow four teachers over the course of the school year — one each at an elementary, middle and high school and a fourth at a school of their choice. Rafael Guerrero, chicagotribune.com, 21 Oct. 2021 The Patriots continue to scheme in the secondary, such as assigning Jones to shadow Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Brown on Oct. 3, and only two teams have yielded fewer passing yards than New England this season. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 15 Oct. 2021 Biden's Supreme Court commission nears end with reviews of court packing, term limits, shadow docket. Alison Durkee, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 Evergrande and its affiliated companies were built through an aggressive mix of dollar debt issuance, share sales, bank loans and shadow financing—funding avenues that have been all but cut off. Fortune, 11 Oct. 2021 When Charlie Kenton switches Atom to shadow mode in the last round against Zeus, and Dakota's watching Hugh return to this redemptive greatness, this one tear just starts coming down Dakota's cheek. Nick Romano, EW.com, 7 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The sooner, the better, as this transit has a pre-shadow period starting before the retrograde itself hits. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 1 Nov. 2021 The sooner, the better as this transit has a pre-shadow period starting before the retrograde itself hits. Meghan Ros, Glamour, 1 Sep. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near shadow

shadoof

shadow

shadow band

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Statistics for shadow

Last Updated

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shadow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shadow. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for shadow

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

shadow

transitive verb

Medical Definition of shadow (Entry 2 of 2)

: to perform shadow-casting on freeze-dried and shadowed myosin molecules

More from Merriam-Webster on shadow

Nglish: Translation of shadow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shadow for Arabic Speakers

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