shelter

noun
shel·​ter | \ ˈshel-tər How to pronounce shelter (audio) \

Definition of shelter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something that covers or affords protection a bomb shelter
b : an establishment providing food and shelter (as to the homeless)
c : an establishment that houses and feeds stray or unwanted animals
2 : a position or the state of being covered and protected took shelter

shelter

verb
sheltered; sheltering\ ˈshel-​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce sheltering (audio) \

Definition of shelter (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to constitute or provide a shelter for : protect has led a sheltered life
2 : to place under shelter or protection sheltered himself in a mountain cave
3 : to protect (income) from taxation

intransitive verb

: to take shelter

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shelter

Noun

shelterless \ ˈshel-​tər-​ləs How to pronounce shelterless (audio) \ adjective

Verb

shelterer \ ˈshel-​tər-​ər How to pronounce shelterer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for shelter

Synonyms: Noun

asylum, bolt-hole [chiefly British], harbor, harborage, haven, refuge, retreat, sanctuary, sanctum

Synonyms: Verb

harbor, refuge

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of shelter in a Sentence

Noun

We made a shelter from branches. a shelter for battered women The organization provides food and shelter for homeless people. The crowd ran for shelter when the rain started. They sought shelter from the storm.

Verb

A cave sheltered the climbers during the storm. They sheltered in a cave while they waited for the storm to pass.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The government has shifted thousands of homeless people from temporary shelters into small concrete houses designed to last at least five years. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Muslims in the Philippines Emerge From the Fog of War to Vote on Self-Rule," 18 Jan. 2019 In fact, there are two new books in the works about Guy and his fairytale journey from a shelter to Kensington Palace. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Reportedly Just Got a Dog!," 26 Aug. 2018 For comparison, 15 to 20 pets are admitted to the shelter on an average day. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Fireworks on Fourth strain Sacramento animal shelters already overcapacity," 5 July 2018 Most of the migrants are being sent to shelters run by charities. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Mexican Authorities Relocate Hundreds of Migrants From Border City," 15 Feb. 2019 Texas officials say schools still could voluntarily provide help to shelters. Caleb Parke, Fox News, "Texas won’t use taxpayer funds to educate illegal immigrants held at the border," 2 Oct. 2018 The parents are dealt with by the legal system while the children have been sent to temporary shelters or sent to live with relatives. Daniela Altimari, courant.com, "Judge Rules Separation of Immigrant Children Living in Connecticut From Their Parents Is Unconstitutional," 14 July 2018 Tens of thousands of people were evacuated to shelters and thousands of fishing boats returned to port. Washington Post, "Typhoon Maria barrels into China after pounding Taiwan," 12 July 2018 The policy required that all immigrants crossing the border illegally be held in criminal custody, so any children in their care were taken from them and sent to shelters. Faith E. Pinho, Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis attorney returns from border with stories she could not 'fathom'," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Fort Ritchie was an above-ground command center for Site R, also known as Raven Rock, which was an underground facility designed to shelter the federal government in the event of nuclear war. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russian State TV Lists U.S. Targets for Putin’s New Nukes--But One Target Doesn't Make Sense," 26 Feb. 2019 Residents in the area were advised to shelter in place and the local SWAT team searched the apartment complex. CBS News, "Police search for man seen with assault-style rifle, wearing bullet proof vest," 3 Feb. 2018 Narongsak previously said experts told him flooding from new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 108 square feet. Fox News, "Thailand cave rescue operation suspended as 4 more boys freed, bringing total to 8," 2 Oct. 2018 Managua’s auxiliary Roman Catholic bishop Silvio Jose Baez said via Twitter that bullets in Monimbo reached the Maria Magdalena parish where a priest was sheltering inside. Christopher Sherman, The Seattle Times, "Nicaraguan forces violently retake symbolic city," 17 July 2018 The announcement came less than a week after San Diego County decided to provide a building to shelter asylum seekers after they are released from detention. Julie Watson, The Seattle Times, "San Diego mayor unveils plan to integrate immigrants," 4 Feb. 2019 On Sunday morning, Mangkhut was barreling toward densely populated southern China and Hong Kong, where authorities raised the highest storm warnings and moved nearly a half-million people to shelter from seven cities. Fox News, "Typhoon Mangkhut death toll climbs in Philippines," 15 Sep. 2018 One of the most prominent facilities used to shelter migrant children is located in Brownsville. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "There Was a Families Belong Together Rally at the U.S. Border Patrol Station in Texas," 30 June 2018 Her organization operates the Cutler Bay facility and has been sheltering immigrant children since 1958, including thousands of Cuban youths who came to South Florida in the early 1960s. Skyler Swisher, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Here's what we know about separated immigrant children in South Florida," 29 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of shelter

Noun

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1590, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for shelter

Noun

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shelter

Statistics for shelter

Last Updated

6 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shelter

The first known use of shelter was in 1585

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shelter

shelter

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shelter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a structure that covers or protects people or things
: a place that provides food and protection for people or animals that need assistance
: a place to live

shelter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shelter (Entry 2 of 2)

: to protect (someone) from danger, bad weather, etc. : to provide shelter for (someone)
: to be in a place that provides protection from danger, bad weather, etc. : to take shelter

shelter

noun
shel·​ter | \ ˈshel-tər How to pronounce shelter (audio) \

Kids Definition of shelter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that covers or protects We made a shelter from branches.
2 : a place that provides food and housing to those in need a homeless shelter an animal shelter
3 : the condition of being protected I found shelter from the storm.

shelter

verb
sheltered; sheltering

Kids Definition of shelter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to provide with a place that covers or protects : be a shelter for A cave sheltered the climbers.
2 : to find and use a shelter for protection … within minutes, half the class was sheltering under desks …— J. K. Rowling, Chamber of Secrets

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on shelter

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

WORD OF THE DAY

an enemy or opponent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!