shad·​owy | \ˈsha-dō-ē, -də-wē\

Definition of shadowy 

1a : of the nature of or resembling a shadow

b : faintly perceptible : indistinct

2 : being in or obscured by shadow deep shadowy interiors

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Other Words from shadowy

shadowily \ ˈsha-​də-​wə-​lē \ adverb
shadowiness \ ˈsha-​də-​wē-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for shadowy


shaded, shadowed, shady, umbrageous


exposed, shadeless, sunny

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Examples of shadowy in a Sentence

She was pursued by a shadowy figure. He had only a shadowy idea of what they wanted him to do.

Recent Examples on the Web

Among them was Bernadette Corporation, a shadowy and amorphous collective that has attained cult status and which, 25 years on, continues to have influence on both aesthetic and conceptual levels. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Notes from the Underground: With a New Book Out, Bernadette Van-Huy Tracks Her Evolution from Bernadette Corporation to Now," 5 Nov. 2018 Jill Vice’s solo show, all high melodrama, grisly plot points and shadowy lighting, both does the genre justice and impishly picks it apart. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Theater capsule reviews and listings, week of April 22," 19 Apr. 2018 Birdseye peered through the scope on his rifle and spotted two shadowy figures low to the ground. Kale Williams,, "As Oregon wolves rebound, tensions rise over livestock attacks," 10 June 2018 Police linked them to a shadowy group called the Operational Forces Action, which explicitly calls on the French to fight Muslims. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "The vicious circle of Islamist terrorism and far-right extremism," 6 July 2018 Aided by a shadowy underground network, Cassie becomes an unlikely heroine as her search for the truth makes her a threat to the entire unjust system. Andy Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter, "Jennifer Beals-Inspired YA Novel Set for 2019," 22 May 2018 To prove that point, Sten (Johannes Kuhnke), the apparent head of the shadowy Apollon company that kicked off the rain apocalypse, reveals his plans to bunch of mysterious, obvious ne'er do wells. Ariana Romero,, "This Is The Most Important Part Of The Rain's Ending," 8 May 2018 The show shrewdly spotlights the real risk of hacking, which isn’t always about shadowy agents in a basement. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "5 Space Forces From Sci-Fi and What We Can Learn From Them," 6 July 2018 The new rules are meant to illuminate the sometimes shadowy world of politics on social media and help prevent fraud and abuse by organizations like Russia’s Internet Research Agency. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "A Day Care and a Dog Rescue Benefit: On Facebook, They Were Political Ads," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shadowy.' 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 shadowy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for shadowy

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shadowy

The first known use of shadowy was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for shadowy



English Language Learners Definition of shadowy

: full of shade or shadows

: dark and mysterious

: not clearly seen or understood


shad·​owy | \ˈsha-də-wē \

Kids Definition of shadowy

1 : full of shade a shadowy lane

2 : indistinct Occasionally, they would pass the shadowy figure of someone else walking down the stairs …— Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator

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More from Merriam-Webster on shadowy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shadowy

Spanish Central: Translation of shadowy

Nglish: Translation of shadowy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shadowy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shadowy

What made you want to look up shadowy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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