shed

1 of 4

verb (1)

shed; shedding

transitive verb

1
: to rid oneself of temporarily or permanently as superfluous or unwanted
shed her inhibitions
the company shed 100 jobs
2
: to give off, discharge, or expel from the body of a plant or animal: such as
a
: to eject, slough off, or lose as part of the normal processes of life
a caterpillar shedding its skin
a cat shedding hair
a deciduous tree sheds its leaves in the fall
b
: to discharge usually gradually especially as part of a pathological process
shed a virus in the feces
3
a
: to pour forth in drops
shed tears
b
: to give off or out
sheds some light on the subject
c
: to cause (blood) to flow by cutting or wounding
4
: to cause to be dispersed without penetrating
duck's plumage sheds water
5
chiefly dialectal : to set apart : segregate

intransitive verb

1
: to cast off some natural covering (such as fur or skin)
the cat is shedding
2
: to become dispersed : scatter
3
: to pour out : spill

shed

2 of 4

noun (1)

1
: something (such as the skin of a snake) that is discarded in shedding
2
: a divide of land
3
obsolete : distinction, difference

shed

3 of 4

noun (2)

1
a
: a slight structure built for shelter or storage
especially : a single-storied building with one or more sides unenclosed
b
: a building that resembles a shed
2
archaic : hut
shedlike adjective

shed

4 of 4

verb (2)

shedded; shedding

transitive verb

: to put or house in a shed
Phrases
shed blood
: to cause death by violence
Choose the Right Synonym for shed

discard, cast, shed, slough, scrap, junk mean to get rid of.

discard implies the letting go or throwing away of something that has become useless or superfluous though often not intrinsically valueless.

discard old clothes

cast, especially when used with off, away, or out, implies a forceful rejection or repudiation.

cast off her friends

shed and slough imply a throwing off of something both useless and encumbering and often suggest a consequent renewal of vitality or luster.

shed a bad habit
finally sloughed off the depression

scrap and junk imply throwing away or breaking up as worthless in existent form.

scrap all the old ways
would junk our educational system

Examples of shed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Investigators believe the shed in which Makayla lived is where Frank allegedly shot her that Sept. 15 day. Emily Palmer, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 Video shows the man get out of a black four-door sedan and start walking down the alley toward a shed where the shooting would happen. James Hartley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 1 Feb. 2024 Rodney Holbrook, 75, a retired mail carrier, noticed some things were changing position in his shed from day to day. Brittany Kasko, Fox News, 9 Jan. 2024 Because of its material, this cover is best stored in a covered space or in a garage, basement, or storage shed. Molly Allen, Southern Living, 5 Jan. 2024 Ultimately, the average price depends on the size of the shed. Adrienne Jordan, Better Homes & Gardens, 3 Feb. 2024 About a quarter to a third of the weight shed is lean body mass, and most of that is muscle. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 2 Feb. 2024 When the man refused to come out of the shed, police called in a crisis negotiation team, a police dog and a drone. Sally Krutzig, Idaho Statesman, 1 Feb. 2024 Accordingly, the property came with an oversize garden — and, more surprising, five sheds. Aimee Farrell Emli Bendixen, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2023
Verb
Following the mixed success of last year’s international media campaign to shed this image, the city’s tourist authorities are trying something new in 2024. David Nikel, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2024 Doherty also said finding the bodies would shed more light on how the men died. Chris Lau, CNN, 23 Feb. 2024 Nicholas Hoult has shed his locks and headed to Metropolis. Jessica Wang, EW.com, 22 Feb. 2024 Your house, shed, garage or other structures on your property can provide suitable hiding places and protection from the elements. The Arizona Republic, 22 Feb. 2024 New research sheds light on just how unique snakes are, and underscores an enduring mystery. Popular Science, 22 Feb. 2024 The indictment sheds little light on the motive for the assassination and how it was financed. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 20 Feb. 2024 Walmart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, is among the first major U.S. retailers to report quarterly results that could shed more light on how consumers are feeling, particularly after the government reported a significant decline in consumer spending last month. Anne D'innocenzio, Quartz, 20 Feb. 2024 Policymakers wanted to help Dubai shed its reputation of being a transient city by attracting expatriates and encouraging some of them to set up businesses. Zainab Fattah, Fortune, 19 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shed.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

Middle English sheden, shedden, shoden "to divide, separate, part or comb (hair), pour out, discharge, cause (blood) to flow, pour (tears) in drops, emit (light)," going back to Old English sceādan, scādan (Class VII strong verb) "to separate, divide, distinguish, decide, scatter, shed (tears, blood)," going back to Germanic *skaiđan-/skaiþan- (whence also Old Frisian skētha, skēda "to separate, depart, exclude, decide, distinguish", Old Saxon skēdan, skēthan "to separate, render (fat), disperse," Old High German skeidan "to separate, distinguish, apportion," Gothic skaidan "to separate"), going back to pre-Germanic *skoit-, variant (with o-ablaut and voiceless final stop) of Indo-European *skei̯d- "split, separate," whence also, with zero grade, Greek schízein "to split, separate," with zero grade and nasal present Sanskrit (Vedic) chinátti "(s/he) cuts off, tears up," Latin scindō, scindere "to split, cleave, separate," with o-grade Russian Church Slavic cěditi "to strain, filter," Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian cijèditi, Lithuanian skáidau, skáidyti "to separate, break down" (also, with e-grade, skíedžiu, skíesti "to make thin, separate")

Note: Old English sceādan is a strong verb in West Saxon, but already a weak verb in Northumbrian, and predominantly a weak verb in Middle English. The Middle and Modern English outcomes of the verb, excepting the uncommon form shoden, seem to reflect Old English scēadan, with later shortening of the vowel, as in other monosyllabic words ending in -d (see note at red entry 1). — The Germanic outcome of the Indo-European base, with o-grade and t, is peculiar; Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben, 2nd edition (Wiesbaden, 2001), suggests generalization of o-grade and devoiced d from a presumed reduplicated present 3rd-person singular ending in -ti. The base *skei̯d- likely emerges directly in Germanic as *skītan- "to defecate, shit" (see shit entry 2); this sense may have co-opted the verb, leading to adoption of the variant *skaidan- to express the other, less objectionable meanings. The Lexikon writes the Indo-European etymon as *sḱhei̯d- to account for the Indo-Aryan forms and the aspiration in Greek, though Slavic and Baltic do not show a palatovelar. R. Beekes (Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2013) regards the Greek aspiration as unexplained. Following the notion that -t-/-d- is a "root extension," J. Pokorny (Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch) adduces a more basic root *skei̯- "split," which, with other root extensions, produce for him a vast range of vocabulary in Indo-European languages.

Noun (1)

Middle English shed, shode "part in the hair, difference, distinction, faculty of discernment," going back to Old English sceād, gesceād "separation, distinction, understanding, reason, reckoning," going back to Germanic *skaiđ- (whence also Old Frisian skēd "part in the hair, crown of the head," Old Saxon skēd, skēth "distinction," Old High German gisceid "knowledge, reason, distinction"), nominal derivative, with varying stem-formatives, from *skaiđan-/skaiþan- "to separate, distinguish"; (sense 1) derivative of shed entry 1 — more at shed entry 1

Note: As is the case with shed entry 1, the Middle and Modern English outcome of Old English sceād appears to reflect a variant scēad, with later shortening of the vowel. The meaning "a divide of land" (sense 2), attested earlier in watershed (18th century) appears to be an outgrowth of earlier physical senses of the word, as "the part of one's hair" or "a passageway between the threads of a warp on a loom," though its very late appearance relative to the other senses makes the relationship uncertain.

Noun (2)

Middle English shedde "lean-to, penthouse," perhaps from a Kentish variant of shudde "hut, lean-to," going back to Old English scydd "swine pasture," of uncertain origin

Note: The word shudde in the Promptorium parvulorum, a 15th-century English-Latin dictionary, is used synonymously with "lytylle howse," "to-falle" [lean-to], and "hovel, or swyne kote, or howse of sympyl hyllynge [shelter] to kepe yn beestys." The approximate synonym "swyne kote" (see swine, cote entry 1) would seem to connect the word with Old English scydd, a word attested in charters that is taken to mean "swine pasture" (the general sense then perhaps being "place to keep swine"). The incidences of this in place and personal names are discussed at the entry for Gunshot Common in the Survey of English Place-Names volumes for Sussex, edited by Allen Mawer, F. M. Stenton and J. E. B. Gower (see Survey of English Place-Names on line). The editors note that the expected Old English source would be schudd rather than shydd if shudde is the regular outcome in East Anglia (presumed to be the source of Promptorium parvulorum?), though most of the onomastic examples in the Middle English Dictionary are from Sussex, Surrey or Kent. The Oxford English Dictionary's hypothesis that shed is somehow a variant of shade (see shade entry 1) is not persuasive, despite the forms shadde in Caxton (1481) and shaddys in Richard Arnold's chronicle (1503?).

Verb (2)

derivative of shed entry 3

First Known Use

Verb (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 5

Noun (1)

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Noun (2)

1557, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

1850, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shed was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near shed

Cite this Entry

“Shed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shed. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

shed

1 of 2 verb
shed; shedding
1
: to keep out : repel
raincoats shed water
2
a
: to cause (blood) to flow from a cut or wound
b
: to pour forth in drops
shed tears
c
: to give off or out
the sun sheds light and heat
3
a
: to cast (as a natural covering) aside
a snake sheds its skin
b
: to let fall (as leaves)
4
: to rid oneself of : discard
shed extra pounds
shedder noun

shed

2 of 2 noun
: a structure built for shelter or storage

Medical Definition

shed

transitive verb
shed; shedding
: to give off or out: as
a
: to lose as part of a natural process
shed the deciduous teeth
b
: to discharge usually gradually from the body
exposed persons may shed virus from the oropharynxD. R. Franz et al.

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