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

The moon is so small, in fact, that the appearance of its shadow doesn't officially qualify as an eclipse. Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "Curiosity Watched Two Eclipses on Mars. Here's What It Saw.," 5 Apr. 2019 Mercury retrograde clears its shadow on Tuesday, April 16, just before the planet of communication enters Aries on Wednesday, April 17. Randon Rosenbohm, Allure, "What April's Taurus Horoscope Means for You," 31 Mar. 2019 Her daughter was only 23 and just starting to emerge from her mother’s long shadow. Eric Althoff, latimes.com, "Liza Minnelli plans an informal evening for Segerstrom audience," 26 June 2018 McSally has tried to strike a balance between supporting a change to the unpopular separations without crossing President Donald Trump, whose approval casts the longest shadow in Republican politics. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Prison company detaining immigrants has helped McSally, others in GOP," 22 June 2018 The Motherland Calls casts a long shadow across the city. Washington Post, "Volgograd provides the proper perspective at World Cup," 20 June 2018 Lynch, the pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn, casts a long shadow as a preacher and as a leader in our community. Byron Mccauley, Cincinnati.com, "Weed in Ohio: Medicine now, but that'll change in time," 4 June 2018 But the promise, at least, of vastly more realistic and varied lighting, shadows, reflections, and more? Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Our favorite (and least favorite) tech of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018 First produced in 1936, in the middle of the Great Depression, the play is almost entirely shadow free: no money worries, no personal problems. Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader, "Oak Park Festival Theatre uncovers hidden depths in You Can’t Take It With You," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Today, pro football still rides high, but the growing awareness of the brain trauma caused by the brutality Mr. Eisenberg highlights shadows its future. Edward Kosner, WSJ, "‘The League’ Review: Single Wing and a Prayer," 6 Nov. 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

9 May 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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