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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 shallowly
Historical Examples
  • In popular thought forgiveness is often shallowly conceived.

    The Meaning of Faith Harry Emerson Fosdick
  • The bark varies from dark red to gray and is shallowly fissured or scaly.

    Michigan Trees Charles Herbert Otis
  • For some hours I slept, but so shallowly that I heard my own voice gabbling in dreams.

    Memoirs of a Midget Walter de la Mare
  • She was breathing raggedly and shallowly, eyes wide and incredulous.

    Lion Loose James H. Schmitz
  • They are white, yellow or red in colour, and shallowly cup-shaped.

  • There was not much to be done about my leaving Chicago; I had rooted there shallowly.

    A Woman of Genius Mary Austin
  • The latter was sitting in a chair at a desk, and when Harlan entered Haydon got up and grinned at him, shallowly, without mirth.

    'Drag' Harlan

    Charles Alden Seltzer
  • The bark of the trunk is thick, dark reddish brown, shallowly fissured between scaly ridges.

    Trees Worth Knowing Julia Ellen Rogers
  • Its firm broad leaves, shallowly cleft into five lobes, are variously toothed besides.

    Trees Worth Knowing Julia Ellen Rogers
  • Tongue ovoid, about twice as long as wide, shallowly notched posteriorly, barely free behind.

British Dictionary definitions for shallowly


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 shallowly



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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