- a dark figure or image cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light.
- shade or comparative darkness, as in an area.
- shadows, darkness, especially that coming after sunset.
- shelter; protection: sanctuary in the shadow of the church.
- a slight suggestion; trace: beyond the shadow of a doubt.
- a specter or ghost: pursued by shadows.
- a hint or faint, indistinct image or idea; intimation: shadows of things to come.
- a mere semblance: the shadow of power.
- a reflected image.
- (in painting, drawing, graphics, etc.)
- the representation of the absence of light on a form.
- the dark part of a picture, especially as representing the absence of illumination: Rembrandt’s figures often emerge gradually from the shadows.
- (in architectural shades and shadows) a dark figure or image cast by an object or part of an object upon a surface that would otherwise be illuminated by the theoretical light source.Compare shade(def 16).
- a period or instance of gloom, unhappiness, mistrust, doubt, dissension, or the like, as in friendship or one’s life: Their relationship was not without shadows.
- a dominant or pervasive threat, influence, or atmosphere, especially one causing gloom, fear, doubt, or the like: They lived under the shadow of war.
- an inseparable companion: The dog was his shadow.
- a person who follows another in order to keep watch upon that person, as a spy or detective.
verb (used with object)
- to overspread with shadow; shade.
- to cast a gloom over; cloud: The incident shadowed their meeting.
- to screen or protect from light, heat, etc.; shade.
- to follow (a person) about secretly, in order to keep watch over his movements.
- to represent faintly, prophetically, etc. (often followed by forth).
- Archaic. to shelter or protect.
- Archaic. to shade in painting, drawing, etc.
- of or relating to a shadow cabinet.
- without official authority: a shadow government.
- a dark image or shape cast on a surface by the interception of light rays by an opaque body
- an area of relative darkness
- the dark portions of a picture
- a hint, image, or faint semblancebeyond a shadow of a doubt
- a remnant or vestigea shadow of one’s past self
- a reflection
- a threatening influence; blighta shadow over one’s happiness
- a spectre
- an inseparable companion
- a person who trails another in secret, such as a detective
- med a dark area on an X-ray film representing an opaque structure or part
- (in Jungian psychology) the archetype that represents man’s animal ancestors
- archaic, or rare protection or shelter
- (modifier) British designating a member or members of the main opposition party in Parliament who would hold ministerial office if their party were in powershadow Chancellor; shadow cabinet
- to cast a shadow over
- to make dark or gloomy; blight
- to shade from light
- to follow or trail secretly
- (often foll by forth) to represent vaguely
- painting drawing another word for shade (def. 13)
n.Old English sceadwe, sceaduwe “the effect of interception of sunlight, dark image cast by someone or something when interposed between an object and a source of light,” oblique cases (“to the,” “from the,” “of the,” “in the”) of sceadu (see shade (n.)). Shadow is to shade (n.) as meadow is to mead (n.2). Cf. Old Saxon skado, Middle Dutch schaeduwe, Dutch schaduw, Old High German scato, German schatten, Gothic skadus “shadow, shade.” From mid-13c. as “darkened area created by shadows, shade.” From early 13c. in sense “anything unreal;” mid-14c. as “a ghost;” late 14c. as “a foreshadowing, prefiguration.” Meaning “imitation, copy” is from 1690s. Sense of “the faintest trace” is from 1580s; that of “a spy who follows” is from 1859. As a designation of members of an opposition party chosen as counterparts of the government in power, it is recorded from 1906. Shadow of Death (c.1200) translates Vulgate umbra mortis (Ps. xxiii:4, etc.), which itself translates Greek skia thanatou, perhaps a mistranslation of a Hebrew word for “intense darkness.” In “Beowulf,” Gendel is a sceadugenga, a shadow-goer, and another word for “darkness” is sceaduhelm. To be afraid of one’s (own) shadow “be very timorous” is from 1580s. v.Middle English schadowen, Kentish ssedwi, from late Old English sceadwian “to protect as with covering wings” (cf. also overshadow), from the root of shadow (n.). Cf. Old Saxon skadoian, Dutch schaduwen, Old High German scatewen, German (über)schatten. From mid-14c. as “provide shade;” late 14c. as “cast a shadow over” (literal and figurative), from early 15c. as “darken” (in illustration, etc.). Meaning “to follow like a shadow” is from c.1600 in an isolated instance; not attested again until 1872. Related: Shadowed; shadowing. In addition to the idiom beginning with shadow