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

Qualcomm argued that renegotiating hundreds of patent license agreements under the shadow of chip level licensing would cause the company irreparable damage should Qualcomm win on appeal, since these deals would be difficult to unwind. San Diego Union-Tribune, "LG Electronics joins FTC in opposing Qualcomm’s efforts to put antitrust ruling on hold," 13 June 2019 There are dark shadows on the earth but its lights are stronger in the contrast. Simon Callow, The New York Review of Books, "Truth, Beauty, and Oliver Sacks," 6 June 2019 For a touch of color, Wynn coated her lids in dark purple shadow, and then smoked it out with a soft black shade for a sultry vibe. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Tiffany Haddish Just Made History as the Only Person in History to Pull Off a Fedora," 7 May 2019 Or, if smoky is more your speed, the double wings blended on with dark navy shadow at Alexa Chung married soft and hard quite beautifully. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "5 Beauty Trends That Swept the London Runways This Week," 20 Feb. 2019 Far below, white clouds cast dark shadows on the Aegean’s great, obliterating plain. Matthew Wolfe, Harper's magazine, "Without a Trace," 10 Feb. 2019 The millennial generation came of age under the shadow of the housing bust in 2008, and while the housing market has since recovered in most American markets, many millennials remain unable or unwilling to ditch renting in favor of homeownership. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Why aren’t millennials buying houses?," 11 July 2018 He was expected to live in silence under the shadow of an oppressive regime. Melissa Mahtani, CNN, "Faure must go: How one Togolese woman is risking her life to end 50-year Gnassingbé dynasty," 13 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Dad Gang started as an Instagram page focused exclusively on reflecting positive images of active Black dads, in an effort to shatter the negative stereotypes that have shadowed Black fathers for years and still affects us today. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "How This Black Man Is Changing The Narrative Of Fatherhood One Positive Image At A Time," 13 June 2019 People come from all over the world to shadow them. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "From hurricanes to mass shootings, Florida universities train up crisis management leaders," 11 June 2019 Ana tried to lead a normal life, but the possibility of deportation shadowed her. Jenna Krajeski, The New Yorker, "A Victim of Terrorism Faces Deportation for Helping Terrorists," 11 June 2019 Burkman, who has faced at least one attempt on his life, is ever-shadowed by a security man named Luis armed with a Glock pistol. Washington Post, "Meet the GOP operatives who aim to smear the 2020 Democrats — but keep bungling it," 4 June 2019 Burkman, who has faced at least one attempt on his life, is ever-shadowed by a security man named Luis armed with a Glock pistol. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "They keep trying to smear Democrats, and keep failing," 4 June 2019 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

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

20 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

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