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

These teams have met six times in this tournament’s final, but this year’s edition held some additional value, too: a chance to establish confidence in a program still playing in the shadows of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Emily Giambalvo, courant.com, "Gold Cup: Mexico edges U.S. for title," 8 July 2019 In Boulder, Mipham grew up under the long shadow of his charismatic father. Jackson Barnett, The Denver Post, "Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Boulder-bred ‘king’ of Shambhala, chosen by his father to lead Buddhist community," 7 July 2019 There were proposals to revive the troubled aviation and shadow banking sectors, for instance, besides a big push for infrastructure spending. Pramod Mathew, Quartz India, "In a quest to remain fiscally prudent, India’s budget stuck to the minimum," 6 July 2019 As far as Texans inside linebackers coach Bobby King is concerned, Benardrick McKinney has toiled for years in the shadows. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans: Pro Bowl LB Benardrick McKinney's recognition overdue," 5 July 2019 But almost every day brings new evidence those freedoms are slipping away, with the territory falling farther under Beijing’s shadow. Austin Ramzy, New York Times, "On Hong Kong Handover Anniversary, Many Fear Loss of Freedoms," 1 July 2019 Vermin and crime were everywhere, and Manhattan’s immigrant population was, before Riis, both figuratively and literally in the shadows. Marlo Safi, National Review, "A Raw Look at the New ‘Other Half’," 29 June 2019 Fifty years ago this month, the now-famous uprising at the Stonewall Inn in New York City marked a turning point for people who were forced to live in the shadows because of their sexuality or for choosing to defy gender norms. Alicia Garza, Marie Claire, "Trans Women Don’t Want Your Sympathy. They Want to Be Treated as Human Beings.," 24 June 2019 Instead, in the more muted climax, Gabby Gabby, with the other toys who are trying to traverse a local carnival, sees a little lost girl hiding in the shadows, terrified and crying. Josh Spiegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Toy Story 4' Surprises With Its Villain," 22 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And that late in the day, many viewing locations will be shadowed by mountains and hills, making finding an unobstructed viewing location all the more challenging. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A 6,000-mile path will experience a total solar eclipse next week. The display won’t be easy to see.," 26 June 2019 Locke had woven in, as backdrop to his work, this postwar history of extending credit, shadowed by genocide and desperate flight. Gaiutra Bahadur, The New Republic, "The United States’ Debt to Immigrants," 25 June 2019 And he was shadowed by criticism from some black residents of South Bend about his firing of the city’s first black police chief and his handling of economic and housing issues. New York Times, "At Town Hall, Pete Buttigieg Confronts Tensions Around South Bend Police Shooting," 23 June 2019 While stigma shadowed homosexuality, bedding a new lover was especially risky for gay men. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, "The Theory That Justified Anti-Gay Crime," 20 June 2019 It was shadowed by the Bainbridge, the U.S. destroyer that had participated in the rescue on Thursday, according to a defense official. Nabih Bulos, latimes.com, "Trump team weighs options against Iran after tanker explosions but downplays war threat," 14 June 2019 Its distribution and depth are not well understood, but the ice appears to be sparsely scattered throughout the walls and floors of permanently shadowed regions at both lunar poles. National Geographic, "Why the moon's south pole may be the hottest destination in space," 9 May 2019 The election was shadowed by allegations of widespread vote buying. Yuras Karmanau, The Seattle Times, "Ukraine comedian leads presidential election, runoff likely," 31 Mar. 2019 Tragedy shadows every move, even if overall the novel feels a tad rosy. John Domini, Dallas News, "An Italian teenager meets the family she didn't know existed in 'A Girl Returned'," 1 July 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

18 Jul 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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