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

Returning to the idea of comfort, Tod’s stripped the notion down to its bare essentials with its sophisticated exhibition exploring the concept of the human shelter. Max Maeckler, Vogue, "The Most Mesmerizing Design Moments of Salone del Mobile," 18 Apr. 2019 Since the players themselves represent the first vault-dwellers to ever leave the safety of a shelter, there's a distinct lack of non-player characters to move the story along. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Hands-on: Fallout 76 lets you bring some company to the Apocalypse," 8 Oct. 2018 Others, meanwhile, had yet to make it out of shelters to plan their next move. Alex Derosier And Alan Suderman, Fox News, "Reckoning with loss of homes, livelihoods after Florence," 21 Sep. 2018 The following day, she was spotted lying in the grass on the Fallsway by residents of the shelter. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "Homeless woman found dead on Fallsway," 10 July 2018 On Tuesday morning, vans were seen shuttling in and out of child shelters in Phoenix and a nearby ICE office. Daniel González, azcentral, "Feds say 34 immigrant children to be reunited with parents; no timetable for others," 10 July 2018 Officials said 24,000 customers had already lost power across Puerto Rico, and Gov. Ricardo Rossello urged people without sturdy roofs to stay with relatives or go to one of 14 government shelters that opened. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Tropical trouble: Beryl's remnants threaten Puerto Rico, as Chris spins near Carolinas," 9 July 2018 Taneyhill was deeply in debt from unpaid court restitution and child support payments when Uppal approached him at the Volunteers of America shelter in February. Cynthia Hubert, sacbee, "This man cost Sacramento County more in one year than any other homeless person," 8 July 2018 Some of the shelters in Texas that house immigrant children are surrounded by fences and security guards. David Yaffe-bellany, star-telegram, "Next to shelter, church's congregation defends family separations," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The little museum, opened in 2013, is dedicated to the role of Chambon and nearby villages in sheltering refugees, Jewish children in particular. Lucian Perkins, Smithsonian, "This French Town Has Welcomed Refugees for 400 Years," 27 June 2018 Italy recently refused entry to a rescue ship carrying hundreds of migrants, and an increasing number of EU nations adamantly oppose any plan requiring them to share the responsibility of sheltering refugees and asylum-seekers. Helene Bienvenu And Marc Santora, BostonGlobe.com, "They Let 71 People Die in Stifling Truck. They Got 25 Years.," 15 June 2018 Nonprofit contractors that shelter unaccompanied children have been accused of neglect and mistreatment. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump administration to release hundreds of immigrant families from detention," 27 Dec. 2018 Protection is when the down-fire side of an object or landscape is sheltered from charring by the side that takes the brunt of advancing flames. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Charred and Burned: The School That Turns Firefighters Into Fire Detectives," 4 Oct. 2018 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

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

18 May 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

a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
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!