\ ˈshād How to pronounce shade (audio) \

Definition of shade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : comparative darkness or obscurity owing to interception of the rays of light
b : relative obscurity or retirement
2a : shelter (as by foliage) from the heat and glare of sunlight
b : a place sheltered from the sun
3 : an evanescent or unreal appearance
4 shades plural
a : the shadows that gather as darkness comes on
5a : a disembodied spirit : ghost
b used to signal the similarity between a previously encountered person or situation and one at hand usually used in plural shades of my childhood
6 : something that intercepts or shelters from light, sun, or heat: such as
a : a device partially covering a lamp so as to reduce glare
b : a flexible screen usually mounted on a roller for regulating the light or the view through a window
c shades plural : sunglasses
7a : the reproduction of the effect of shade in painting or drawing
b : a subdued or somber feature
8a : a color produced by a pigment or dye mixture having some black in it
b : a color slightly different from the one under consideration
9a : a minute difference or variation : nuance
b : a minute degree or quantity
10 : a facial expression of sadness or displeasure
throw shade
US slang
: to express contempt or disrespect for someone publicly especially by subtle or indirect insults or criticisms Christopher Oram's elegant set is a pillared palazzo; at cafe tables wasp-waisted women sip tiny cups of espresso and throw shade at their rivals from behind dark glasses …— Sam Marlowe


shaded; shading

Definition of shade (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to shelter or screen by intercepting radiated light or heat
b : to cover with a shade
2 : to hide partly by or as if by a shadow
3 : to darken with or as if with a shadow
4 : to better or exceed by a shade
5a : to represent the effect of shade or shadow on
b : to add shading to
c : to color so that the shades pass gradually from one to another
6 : to change by gradual transition or qualification
7 : to reduce slightly shade a price
8 : slant, bias

intransitive verb

1 : to pass by slight changes or imperceptible degrees
2 : to undergo or exhibit minute difference or variation

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Other Words from shade


shadeless \ ˈshād-​ləs How to pronounce shade (audio) \ adjective


shader noun

Synonyms for shade

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of shade in a Sentence

Noun The buildings cast shade on the plaza. The tree provided plenty of shade. These plants grow well in shade. It was a hot sunny day, but luckily their seats for the game were in the shade. We sat in the shade of a willow tree. He used his hand as a shade as he looked out into the bright sunlight. a lamp with a broken shade She pulled down the shades. She was wearing a cool pair of shades. Verb Several large trees shade the house. She shaded the drawing to give it depth. The shaded part of the graph represents the amount of sales. The article shaded the truth by revealing only one side of the story.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The shade of her flesh will safely place her somewhere near the middle of the Black girl bouquet. Michaela Angela Davis, Allure, "How Colorism Shapes Black Girlhood," 28 Apr. 2021 Instead of specific plants, your list could focus on qualities like color palette or light requirement (for example, pink flowers for hanging baskets, or shade perennials). Megan Hughes, Better Homes & Gardens, "6 Tips for Finding Plants and Gardening Supplies That Are Selling Out Fast This Year," 28 Apr. 2021 Leo, in a charcoal suit, in the shade by Rebecca Mosley, the wife of a Tangerine board member. Ew Staff,, "Read the first three chapters of Kathy Wang's new spy thriller Impostor Syndrome," 27 Apr. 2021 Why are the eggs of American robins, for instance, that unmarked shade of blue? Jim Williams, Star Tribune, "Why are some bird eggs blue and some speckled? Location, location, location," 27 Apr. 2021 Still a lighter shade than purple might conjure up in your mind, but punchier and more dramatic than the 11. David Phelan, Forbes, "The Gorgeous New Purple iPhone 12: 6 Things You Need To Know," 27 Apr. 2021 For one, due to its likeness to sunshine, yellow is hailed as the most energizing shade among the warm colors according to color theorists. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Why Yellow Eyeshadow Should Be Your New Spring Obsession," 27 Apr. 2021 For each grape variety and vineyard, the company calculates the optimal ratio between shade and sunlight to determine the solar panels’ movements. Washington Post, "French vineyards devastated by April frost that followed unusually warm March," 26 Apr. 2021 Tall, strong, long arms, capable of providing shade and shelter for birds and humans alike. Nandini Balial, Wired, "How Stardew Valley Bridged a Connection to My Grandfather," 26 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Without it, thick growth can shade out grasses and forbs on the forest floor, vegetation turkeys need to thrive. Matt Wyatt, San Antonio Express-News, "'Super stocking' program seeks to boost eastern turkey ranks in East Texas," 29 Apr. 2021 Make sure to mow at the higher end of that range to help keep grass strong and shade out weed seeds. Arricca Elin Sansone, House Beautiful, "How to Rid Your Lawn of Common Problems," 12 Apr. 2021 Yet the facts that witnesses can be unreliable and that the police sometimes lie or shade the truth aren’t reasons to disbelieve police testimony in general. New York Times, "I Don’t Trust Police Testimony. Can I Lie to Get on a Jury?," 2 Mar. 2021 All season long, Williams has showcased her activism, including multiple arrests, without missing a single opportunity to shade a castmate. Anna Peele, Vulture, "The Soul of Bravo," 14 Apr. 2021 From the pit, guests had a picture-perfect view of the ocean framed by concrete walls deep enough to shade the glass from the sun. Alexandra Lange, Town & Country, "How to Save (and Live in) a Masterpiece of Modern Design," 29 Mar. 2021 Redbud is well suited to small city gardens because of its size and its adaptability to shade. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "The gardener’s guide to redbuds," 4 Mar. 2021 As Petrie is obliged to work ever harder to suppress his skeptical thoughts regarding Elefantin, his testament begins to shade into idolatry. Giles Harvey, The New Yorker, "Cynthia Ozick, Smasher of Idols," 5 Apr. 2021 Joe Burrow’s brilliance could shade that fact a little. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, "Doc's Morning Line: 10 things from Cincinnati Bengals' loss to New York Giants," 4 Apr. 2021

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

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First Known Use of shade


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for shade


Middle English, from Old English sceadu; akin to Old High German scato shadow, Greek skotos darkness

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Time Traveler for shade

Time Traveler

The first known use of shade was before the 12th century

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Statistics for shade

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for shade



English Language Learners Definition of shade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an area of slight darkness that is produced when something blocks the light of the sun
: something that is used to block strong light
: a darkened area in a drawing, painting, etc.



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

: to shelter (something) from strong light and especially from sunlight
: to make an area in a drawing, on a graph, etc., darker than other areas
US : to change (something, such as the truth) slightly in order to deceive people


\ ˈshād How to pronounce shade (audio) \

Kids Definition of shade

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : space sheltered from light or heat and especially from the sun I needed to sit in the shade of a tree.
2 : partial darkness The trees cast shade.
3 : something that blocks off or cuts down light a lamp shade a window shade
4 : the darkness or lightness of a color four shades of brown
5 : a very small difference or amount He's just a shade taller than me.
6 : ghost, spirit
7 : the darkening of some objects in a painting or drawing to suggest that they are in shade


shaded; shading

Kids Definition of shade (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to shelter from light or heat I shaded my eyes with a hand.
2 : to mark with or turn a darker color The shaded parts of the graph show growth. Her face shaded purple with embarrassment.

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Comments on shade

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