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[shal-oh] /ˈʃæl oʊ/
adjective, shallower, shallowest.
of little depth; not deep:
shallow water.
lacking depth; superficial:
a mind that is not narrow but shallow.
taking in a relatively small amount of air in each inhalation:
shallow breathing.
Baseball. relatively close to home plate:
The shortstop caught the pop fly in shallow left field.
Usually, shallows. (used with a singular or plural verb) a shallow part of a body of water; shoal.
Baseball. at a shallow position:
With the pitcher up, the outfielders played shallow.
verb (used with or without object)
to make or become shallow.
Origin of shallow
1350-1400; Middle English schalowe (adj.); akin to Old English sceald shallow (see shoal1)
Related forms
shallowly, adverb
shallowness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shallowest
Historical Examples
  • The shallowest of them might ask a hearing—he dared not for his dishonored honor's sake.

    Theo Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • As a matter of fact, words are, as a rule, the shallowest portion of all the argument.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • The river was now at its shallowest, and the men were able to pole the boat across.

    The Dash for Khartoum George Alfred Henty
  • When I put in my stick, however, I could not fathom it—and this at the shallowest part.

    In the Rocky Mountains W. H. G. Kingston
  • You could not have seen the pollywogs in the shallowest places along the margin.

    Rollo in Geneva Jacob Abbott
  • “She is just about on the shallowest point of the reef,” Ben Harper said.

    In Greek Waters G. A. Henty
  • At the shallowest places the water should stand about a foot above the plants.

  • His acquaintance with the vast casuistic literature of his race was of the shallowest.

    Ghetto Tragedies Israel Zangwill
  • About the thinnest, shallowest nest, for its situation, that can be found is that of the turtle-dove.

    Wake-Robin John Burroughs
  • But the shallowest thinker will not deny the realities of remorse.

    A Love Episode Emile Zola
British Dictionary definitions for shallowest


having little depth
lacking intellectual or mental depth or subtlety; superficial
(often pl) a shallow place in a body of water; shoal
to make or become shallow
Derived Forms
shallowly, adverb
shallowness, noun
Word Origin
C15: related to Old English sceald shallow; see shoal1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shallowest



c.1400, schalowe "not deep," probably from or related to Old English sceald (see shoal (n.)). Of breathing, attested from 1875; of thought or feeling, "superficial," first recorded 1580s. The noun, usually shallows, is first recorded 1570s, from the adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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