What does shadow mean?

Definitions for shadow
ˈʃæd oʊshad·ow

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word shadow.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. shadownoun

    shade within clear boundaries

  2. darkness, dark, shadownoun

    an unilluminated area

    "he moved off into the darkness"

  3. apparition, phantom, phantasm, phantasma, fantasm, shadownoun

    something existing in perception only

    "a ghostly apparition at midnight"

  4. shadownoun

    a premonition of something adverse

    "a shadow over his happiness"

  5. trace, vestige, tincture, shadownoun

    an indication that something has been present

    "there wasn't a trace of evidence for the claim"; "a tincture of condescension"

  6. shadownoun

    refuge from danger or observation

    "he felt secure in his father's shadow"

  7. shadownoun

    a dominating and pervasive presence

    "he received little recognition working in the shadow of his father"

  8. tail, shadow, shadowernoun

    a spy employed to follow someone and report their movements

  9. shadowverb

    an inseparable companion

    "the poor child was his mother's shadow"

  10. shadowverb

    follow, usually without the person's knowledge

    "The police are shadowing her"

  11. shadow, shade, shade offverb

    cast a shadow over

  12. shadow, overshadow, dwarfverb

    make appear small by comparison

    "This year's debt dwarfs that of last year"


  1. shadownoun

    A dark image projected onto a surface where light is blocked by the shade of an object.

    My shadow lengthened as the sun began to set.

  2. shadownoun

    Relative darkness, especially as caused by the interruption of light; gloom, obscurity.

    I immediately jumped into shadow as I saw them approach.

  3. shadownoun

    That which looms as though a shadow.

  4. shadownoun

    Merely a hint of substance.

  5. shadownoun

    One who secretly or furtively follows another.

    The constable was promoted to working as a shadow for the Royals.

  6. shadownoun

    A type of lettering form of word processors that makes a cubic effect.

  7. shadownoun

    An influence, especially a pervasive or a negative one.

  8. shadowverb

    To block light or radio transmission.

    Looks like that cloud's going to shadow us.

  9. shadowverb

    To secretly or discreetly track or follow another, to keep under surveillance.

  10. shadowverb

    To make an identifier, usually a variable, inaccessible by declaring another of the same name within the scope of the first.

  11. Etymology: sceaduwe, inflected form of sceadu (> English shade).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Shadownoun

    Etymology: scadu , Saxon; schaduwe, Dutch.

    Poor Tom! proud of heart, to ride over four inch’d bridges, to course his own shadow for a traitor. William Shakespeare.

    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
    And then is heard no more. William Shakespeare.

    Such a nature,
    Tickl’d with good success, disdains the shadow
    Which he treads on at noon. William Shakespeare.

    The body, tho’ it moves, yet not changing perceivable distance with some other bodies, the thing seems to stand still, as in the hands of clocks, and shadows of sun-dials. John Locke.

    By the revolution of the skies
    Night’s sable shadows from the ocean rise. John Denham.

    His countrymen probably lived within the shake of the earthquake and shadow of the eclipse. Addison.

    In secret shadow from the sunny ray,
    On a sweet bed of lillies softly laid. Fa. Queen.

    Here father, take the shadow of this tree
    For your good host. William Shakespeare, K. Lear.

    To the secret shadows I retire,
    To pay my penance till my years expire. Dryd.

    A shadow is a diminution of the first and second light. The first light is that which proceeds immediately from a lightned body, as the beams of the sun. The second is an accidental light spreading itself into the air or medium proceeding from the other. Shadows are threefold: the first is a single shadow, and the least of all; and is proper to the plain surface where it is not wholly possessed of the light. The second is the double shadow, and it is used when the surface begins once to forsake your eye, as in columns. The third shadow is made by crossing over your double shadow again, which darkneth by a third part. It is used for the inmost shadow, and farthest from the light, as in gulfs, wells, and caves. Henry Peacham.

    After great lights there must be great shadows. Dryden.

    Hence, terrible shadow!
    Unreal mock’ry, hence! William Shakespeare.

    If substance might be call’d that shadow seem’d. John Milton.

    In the glorious lights of heaven we perceive a shadow of his divine countenance. Walter Raleigh.

    Without the least impulse or shadow of fate. John Milton.

    Amongst the creatures are particular excellencies scattered, which are some shadows of the divine perfections. John Tillotson.

    Sin and her shadow, death. John Milton.

    Thou my shadow
    Inseparable must with me be long John Milton.

    Types and shadows of that destin’d seed. John Milton.

    Keep me under the shadow of thy wings. Psalms.

  2. To Shadowverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    The warlike elf much wondered at this tree,
    So fair and great, that shadowed all the ground. Fa. Q.

    The Assyrian was a cedar with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud. Ezek. xxxi. 3.

    Mislike me not for my complexion;
    The shadow’d livery of the burning sun
    To whom I am a neighbour. William Shakespeare.

    A gentle south-west wind comes creeping over flowery fields and shadow’d waters in the extreme heat of summer. Philip Sidney.

    Let every soldier hew him down a bough,
    And bear’t before him; thereby shall we shadow
    The number of our host, and make discov’ry
    Err in report of us. William Shakespeare.

    God shall forgive you Cœur de Lion’s death,
    The rather, that you give his offspring life,
    Shad wing their right under your wings of war. William Shakespeare.

    Turnsoil is made of old linnen rags dried, and laid in a saucer of vinegar, and set over a chafing dish of coals till it boil; then wring it into a shell, and put it into a little gum arabick: it is good to shadow carnations, and all yellows. Henry Peacham.

    From a round globe of any uniform colour, the idea imprinted in our minds is of a flat circle, variously shadowed with different degrees of light coming to our eyes. John Locke.

    More broken scene, made up of an infinite variety of inequalities and shadowings, that naturally arise from an agreeable mixture of hills, groves, and vallies. Addis.

    If the parts be too much distant, so that there be void spaces which are deeply shadowed, then place in those voids some fold to make a joining of the parts. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.

    Whereat I wak’d and found
    Before mine eyes all real, as the dream
    Had lively shadow’d. John Milton, Parad. Lost.

    Augustus is shadowed in the person of Æneas. Dryd.

    I have shadowed some part of your virtues under another name. Dryd.

    Many times there are three things said to make up the substance of a sacrament; namely, the grace which is thereby offered, the element which shadoweth or signifieth grace, and the word which expresseth what is done by the element. Hook.

    The shield being to defend the body from weapons, aptly shadows out to us the continence of the emperor, which made him proof to all the attacks of pleasure. Addison.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Shadownoun

    shade within defined limits; obscurity or deprivation of light, apparent on a surface, and representing the form of the body which intercepts the rays of light; as, the shadow of a man, of a tree, or of a tower. See the Note under Shade, n., 1

  2. Shadownoun

    darkness; shade; obscurity

  3. Shadownoun

    a shaded place; shelter; protection; security

  4. Shadownoun

    a reflected image, as in a mirror or in water

  5. Shadownoun

    that which follows or attends a person or thing like a shadow; an inseparable companion; hence, an obsequious follower

  6. Shadownoun

    a spirit; a ghost; a shade; a phantom

  7. Shadownoun

    an imperfect and faint representation; adumbration; indistinct image; dim bodying forth; hence, mystical representation; type

  8. Shadownoun

    a small degree; a shade

  9. Shadownoun

    an uninvited guest coming with one who is invited

  10. Shadownoun

    to cut off light from; to put in shade; to shade; to throw a shadow upon; to overspead with obscurity

  11. Shadownoun

    to conceal; to hide; to screen

  12. Shadownoun

    to protect; to shelter from danger; to shroud

  13. Shadownoun

    to mark with gradations of light or color; to shade

  14. Shadownoun

    to represent faintly or imperfectly; to adumbrate; hence, to represent typically

  15. Shadownoun

    to cloud; to darken; to cast a gloom over

  16. Shadownoun

    to attend as closely as a shadow; to follow and watch closely, especially in a secret or unobserved manner; as, a detective shadows a criminal

  17. Etymology: [Originally the same word as shade. 162. See Shade.]


  1. Shadow

    A shadow is an area where direct light from a light source cannot reach due to obstruction by an object. It occupies all of the space behind an opaque object with light in front of it. The cross section of a shadow is a two-dimensional silhouette, or reverse projection of the object blocking the light. The sun causes many objects to have shadows and at certain times of the day, when the sun is at certain heights, the lengths of shadows change. An astronomical object casts human-visible shadows when its apparent magnitude is equal or lower than −4. Currently the only astronomical objects able to produce visible shadows on Earth are the sun, the moon and, in the right conditions, Venus or Jupiter.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Shadow

    shad′ō, n. shade caused by an object: darkness: shelter: security: favour: the dark part of a picture: an inseparable companion: a mystical representation: faint appearance: a ghost, spirit: something only in appearance.—v.t to shade: to cloud or darken: to shade, as a painting: to represent faintly: to hide, conceal: (coll.) to attend like a shadow, watch continuously and carefully.—ns. Shad′ow-fig′ure, a silhouette; Shad′owiness, the state of being shadowy or unsubstantial; Shad′owing, shading: gradation of light and colour.—adj. Shad′owless.—n. Shad′ow-stitch, in lace-making, a very delicate kind of ladder-stitch used in fine open-work.—adj. Shad′owy, full of shadow: dark: obscure: typical: unsubstantial: (rare) indulging in fancies.—Shadow of death, approach of death: terrible disaster. [A.S. sceadu; cog. with Old High Ger. scato, and perh. Gr. skotos, darkness, skia, shadow.]

Suggested Resources

  1. shadow

    Song lyrics by shadow -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by shadow on the Lyrics.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shadow' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3274

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shadow' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4458

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'shadow' in Nouns Frequency: #1009

How to pronounce shadow?

How to say shadow in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of shadow in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of shadow in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of shadow in a Sentence

  1. Keith McCoy:

    Did we aggressively fight against some of the science ? Yes, did we join some shadow groups to work against some of the early efforts ? Yes, that's true. But there's nothing illegal about that. We were looking out for our investments. We were looking out for our shareholders.

  2. Emanuele Mancuso:

    Due to the climate of everything surrounding our golf tournament Shadow Cabaret has decided to cancel this event, we want to apologize to anyone that may have been offended by the tournament. Our intention was to raise money for a deserving local charity. Trump Doral, Trump Doral, has no association with our company outside of simply allowing us to rent the golf course.

  3. Scott C. Holstad:

    I allowed you to destroy me, my self-confidence, my ego, my identity as a human being and as a man. for years i was a shadow of my former self. the pain you caused was brutal and intense but i have a new life and a new incarnation and you’re hardly worth thinking about anymore and being free at last of your clutches, I have a new world to look forward to.

  4. Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions:

    This request has unearthed the operation of a shadow immigration system previously unknown to the American public, a full investigation is warranted.

  5. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak:

    But the events of recent days and weeks have cast a shadow over us all.

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Translations for shadow

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