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

Their makeup was almost identical—pink blush, glossy pink lips, and a soft smoky eye—but Phillippe incorporated pink eye shadow into her glam. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Reese Witherspoon Just Twinned with Her Daughter Ava Phillipe at the Big Little Lies Premiere," 30 May 2019 Each shot captures distinct clusters of desert rose petals, shadows cast by wafer-thin overhangs, and wedges of azure sky. Julie Lasky, ELLE Decor, "ED First Look: The National Museum of Qatar," 26 Mar. 2019 At Mexico’s El Castillo, among the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, even more assemble on the same date to see the sun make shadows that look like a snake slithering down the pyramid steps. Jill Gleeson, Country Living, "What Exactly Is the Spring Equinox?," 19 Mar. 2019 At other times, William focused on details of the landscape: a broken fence by a riverside, shadows cast by trees, unchanging streams in the midst of changing terrain. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "'Two Lives, One Passion' At Springfield Museums," 7 July 2018 On July 27, in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, skywatchers will get a look at a Blood Moon, a total lunar eclipse, with the moon going into Earth’s shadow. Richard Tribou, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Mars in opposition highlight of July's night sky," 3 July 2018 That night, the White House was lit in rainbow colors, and Michelle grabbed Malia’s hand to sneak out and watch the celebration from the shadows of her own lawn. Elisabeth Egan, Glamour, "With Becoming, Michelle Obama Proves She's Just Like You, Me, and Everyone We Know," 13 Nov. 2018 Does France have a parallel police system or a deep state running the country from the shadows? Elaine Ganley, Fox News, "Car, gun, money: Scandal over Macron's ex-aide grips France," 1 Aug. 2018 The forthcoming battle in season three is a resistance that comes springing forth from the shadows. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Handmaid's Tale' "Ready to Hit the Next Dimension" in Season 3, Producer Says," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At home in Colorado, Handley shadows doctors at every chance. Janie Mccauley, The Denver Post, "Stanford catcher Maverick Handley’s backup plan is career in medicine," 4 June 2019 The Duke of Cambridge just completed a top-secret internship with the U.K.’s national security and intelligence agencies, shadowing spies and learning about the extraordinary efforts made to protect the country and its allies. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "Inside Prince William's Top Secret Internship at Britain's Intelligence Agencies," 6 Apr. 2019 As an aspiring film maker, h has been able to shadow veteran director Ken Olin and be a part of the discussions happening in Dan Fogelman's writers' room. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Logan Shroyer Has High Hopes for Kevin Going Into 'This Is Us' Season 4," 2 Apr. 2019 Democrats have launched a sweeping probe of Trump that threatens to shadow the president through the 2020 election season. Chad Day, The Seattle Times, "Key take-aways from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report," 25 Mar. 2019 The question of how the European Union will handle the migrants and asylum seekers in its midst has shadowed continental politics since an influx of Syrian refugees dominated global headlines in 2015. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Does the West actually face a migration crisis?," 28 June 2018 Reports of the investigation have shadowed Kering for several years, worrying investors over the company’s potential tax liabilities. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, "Italy Sends Gucci Owner a Nearly $1.6 Billion Tax Bill," 25 Jan. 2019 The Seminoles’ Terance Mann, who had switched off Snider to guard King with the ball exchange, shadowed King’s steps and then swatted away his shot. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "End-of-game blocked shot blunts a Cards comeback | Tim Sullivan," 3 Feb. 2018 In this case, the pool reporters shadowing Trump’s movements were positioned ahead of time across the street from Blair House and were not in the motorcade, which included at least eight vehicles, according to video footage. David Nakamura, The Seattle Times, "Trump uses eight-vehicle motorcade to travel 250 yards to greet George W. Bush," 4 Dec. 2018

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

6 Jun 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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