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

In the final weeks leading up to his final asylum hearing, Douglas worked around the clock to finish the migrant shelter. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Honduran youth pastor sent to Tijuana under ‘Remain in Mexico’ wins asylum," 16 Sep. 2019 Laurie Ferguson, a 46-year-old Bahamian, stood outside the shelter this week in a yellow vest. Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, "Haitians in the Bahamas seek more protection after Hurricane Dorian aid groups, news cameras leave," 13 Sep. 2019 Arrest warrant, Lorain Road On Sept. 4 an officer on patrol noticed a man slumped over in the RTA shelter and went to check on him. cleveland.com, "Intoxicated man becomes aggressive after arrest: Fairview Park Police Blotter," 12 Sep. 2019 At Codington Elementary School in Wilmington, echoes of Florence still haunted many of the 115 people who filled the shelter to capacity as Dorian approached. Jack Healy, New York Times, "They Survived Dorian but Wonder How Many More Hurricanes They Can Withstand," 6 Sep. 2019 The shelter said the remaining dogs were vaccinated and are at low risk of infection. USA TODAY, "Rare elephant calf, two-headed rattlesnake, another quake off Oregon: News from around our 50 states," 6 Sep. 2019 It was razed in a matter of hours by Dorian, which ripped apart the shelters and scattered splintered plywood and two-by-fours for miles. Michael Weissenstein, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Like zombies’: Victims of Bahamas hurricane confront massive scale of disaster," 5 Sep. 2019 Three years ago came Matthew, with its interior tornadoes that leveled entire communities, leaving few homes without the shelter of those blue tarps. Crystal A. Degregory, Time, "Here in the Bahamas, Every Generation Has Its Storm Stories. The Tale of Hurricane Dorian Is Still Being Written," 4 Sep. 2019 The spokesman said the migrants are being taken to temporary shelters and allowed to apply for asylum. Washington Post, "France evacuates 900 migrants from camp near English Channel," 18 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many Americans would have been shocked by the spectacle of their president welcoming the group that once sheltered Osama bin Laden, just days before the anniversary of the attacks of September 11th 2001. The Economist, "America will have to resume negotiations with the Taliban eventually," 14 Sep. 2019 Duque has accused Maduro of sheltering the rebels and other leftist guerrillas who are still waging war with Colombia’s government. Washington Post, "Venezuelan opposition leader denies ties to criminal gang," 14 Sep. 2019 The church’s decision was slammed by a panel of Fox News contributors, who criticized the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for encouraging people to break the law by sheltering undocumented immigrants facing deportation. Lisa Maria Garza, orlandosentinel.com, "Florida congregations of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to determine what ‘sanctuary’ means," 13 Sep. 2019 Jojo's fanaticism disturbs his mother (Scarlett Johansson), and their relationship is further complicated when Jojo discovers that she's been sheltering a Jewish girl, Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie), in their attic. Glenn Whipp, chicagotribune.com, "Taika Waititi didn’t want ‘Jojo Rabbit’ to be a sad Holocaust film. So he added Adolf Hitler," 6 Sep. 2019 Most of Palm Beach County is not being evacuated and residents should shelter within the county if possible, officials said. Brooke Baitinger, sun-sentinel.com, "Several hurricane shelters are now open in Palm Beach County. Here is a list and a map of them.," 1 Sep. 2019 McGough later said he isn't opposed to share the city's burden of sheltering the homeless. Robert Wilonsky, Dallas News, "Dallas tosses proposed housing-for-homeless sites after pushback from Lake Highlands," 17 Aug. 2019 The couple offered to shelter Herman with sympathetic farmers outside of town — and then, at Herman’s request, found a place for his fiancee and her mother as well. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Diet Eman, Dutch resistance hero who saved Jews during World War II, dies at 99," 6 Sep. 2019 The clatter of claws on the polished floor was heard throughout the lobby; evacuees from all over Florida arrived at the Wilderness Lodge, and pets were welcome to shelter at the resort during the storm. Samantha Mcnesby, USA TODAY, "How Disney World kept the magic alive as Hurricane Dorian threatened Florida," 4 Sep. 2019

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

19 Oct 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

tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!