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 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 But the program was just a shadow of what UBI proponents, such as former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, believe is possible. Washington Post, "Cash payments spread from Congress to Stockton to Brazil -- but notion of 'universal basic income’ far from reality," 22 Apr. 2021 The Clásico of 2021 will be a shadow of the Clásicos of 2011. New York Times, "Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: Too Big to Fall," 9 Apr. 2021 Baylor was back for the next season but was a mere shadow of his former self, averaging 16.6 points and, for the first time, failing to make first-team All-NBA. Mike Kupper, Los Angeles Times, "Elgin Baylor, Lakers legend and former Clippers executive, dies at 86," 22 Mar. 2021 Today Caligula’s labyrinth of passions is a shadow of its former self, like any Roman ruin. Jason Horowitz, Town & Country, "Inside Caligula's Pleasure Palace, History's Original Hype House," 22 Mar. 2021 The past year has been a shadow of his normal life. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "From rock to opera, Austin live music scene plays on during pandemic," 11 Mar. 2021 Cole Hamels, like Odorizzi, was also a shadow of his former self last season. Dan Schlossberg, Forbes, "Baseball GMs Scour Free-Agent Market For Last-Minute Bargains," 5 Mar. 2021 Like many restaurants across Boston, Peach Farm is a shadow of its former self. Hanna Krueger, BostonGlobe.com, "Beloved restaurant Peach Farm used to be open until 3 a.m. — now it struggles to stay open at all," 15 Jan. 2021 The abuser himself is a mere shadow, only heard shouting over the phone receiver or seen through menacing all-caps emails. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Pop Culture Reckoned With #MeToo in Radical New Ways in 2020—Even as It Receded From Headlines," 22 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While a ruling is months or even years away, the proceedings are expected to take place up to three days a week, an embarrassing and time-consuming distraction that will shadow Netanyahu’s appeals to his rivals. Laurie Kellman And Ilan Ben Zion, chicagotribune.com, "Israel’s president gives Benjamin Netanyahu, facing corruption trial, a chance to form government: ‘Not an easy decision on a moral and ethical basis’," 6 Apr. 2021 The proceedings are expected to take place up to three days a week, an embarrassing and time-consuming distraction that will shadow Netanyahu’s appeals to his rivals. Fox News, "Israeli president picks Netanyahu to try and form government," 6 Apr. 2021 Born in Spain in 1591, Ribera worked in the tenebrist style pioneered by Caravaggio, emphasizing sharp contrasts between light and shadow in his creations. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Baroque Painting Almost Sold for €1,500 May Be a Caravaggio Worth Millions," 13 Apr. 2021 All of the phone’s three lenses support 8K 24fps video, ensuring excellent picture quality and accurate, dynamic light and shadow representation. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Xiaomi is trying to do something Apple couldn’t with its AirPower clone," 29 Mar. 2021 Like Barragán, Bennett adopted an almost pious visual austerity in which natural light and shadow, not furniture or decoration, define the milieu. New York Times, "In Southampton, a Beach House Not Like the Others," 22 Mar. 2021 Some who did attributed it to the play of light and shadow across the white canvas, not to inexplicable forces. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Did you hear that? Another mystery boom leaves San Diego grasping for answers," 13 Mar. 2021 The hotel’s most storied relationship was with Mademoiselle magazine, whose prestigious guest editor program brought 20 college students from around the country to New York each June to shadow the magazine’s editors. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, "Where American women’s ambitions took wing at midcentury," 4 Mar. 2021 In addition to having participants shadow directors and producers, the curriculum will include virtual master classes and networking sessions with industry executives. Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times, "Netflix launches documentary and unscripted filmmaker fellowship with Ghetto Film School," 1 Mar. 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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Statistics for shadow

Last Updated

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shadow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shadow. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on shadow

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