1

shallow

adjective shal·low \ ˈsha-(ˌ)lō \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of shallow

1 :having little depth
  • shallow water
2 :having little extension inward or backward
  • office buildings have taken the form of shallow slabs
  • —Lewis Mumford
3 a :penetrating only the easily or quickly perceived
  • shallow generalizations
b :lacking in depth of knowledge, thought, or feeling
  • a shallow demagogue
4 :displacing comparatively little air :weak
  • shallow breathing

shallowly

play \ˈsha-lō-lē, -lə-lē\ adverb

shallowness

noun

Examples of shallow in a Sentence

  1. The shallow end of the pool is only three feet deep.

  2. Her boyfriends were all shallow creeps.

  3. She could only take shallow breaths.

  4. His breathing became very shallow.

Recent Examples of shallow from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shallow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of shallow

Middle English schalowe; probably akin to Old English sceald shallow — more at skeleton

Synonym Discussion of shallow

superficial, shallow, cursory mean lacking in depth or solidity. superficial implies a concern only with surface aspects or obvious features.
    • a superficial analysis of the problem
shallow is more generally derogatory in implying lack of depth in knowledge, reasoning, emotions, or character.
    • a light, shallow, and frivolous review
cursory suggests a lack of thoroughness or a neglect of details.
    • gave the letter only a cursory reading

2

shallow

verb

Definition of shallow

transitive verb
:to make shallow
intransitive verb
:to become shallow

Recent Examples of shallow from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shallow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of shallow

1510


3

shallow

noun

Definition of shallow

:a shallow place or area in a body of water usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction

Examples of shallow in a Sentence

  1. we waded through the shallows looking for tadpoles

Recent Examples of shallow from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shallow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of shallow

1569

shallow Synonyms

Synonyms
ford, shallow (s)
Related Words
bank, bar, sandbank, sandbar, towhead
Near Antonyms
trench; abyss, deep, depth, gulf

SHALLOW Defined for English Language Learners

shallow

adjective

Definition of shallow for English Language Learners

  • : having a small distance to the bottom from the surface or highest point

  • : not going far inward from the outside or the front edge of something

  • : not caring about or involving serious or important things


SHALLOW Defined for Kids

1

shallow

adjective shal·low \ ˈsha-lō \

Definition of shallow for Students

shallower; shallowest
1 :not deep
  • a shallow stream
2 :taking in small amounts of air
  • shallow breaths
3 :showing little knowledge, thought, or feeling
  • They're shallow people only interested in money.

shallowness

noun

2

shallow

noun

Definition of shallow for Students

:a shallow place in a body of water usually used in pl.

Medical Dictionary

shallow

adjective shal·low \ ˈshal-(ˌ)ō, -ə(-w) \

medical Definition of shallow

:displacing comparatively little air
  • shallow breathing


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

spoken rather than written

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!