- something beneath, behind, or within which a person, animal, or thing is protected from storms, missiles, adverse conditions, etc.; refuge.
- the protection or refuge afforded by such a thing: He took shelter in a nearby barn.
- protection from blame, incrimination, etc.
- a dwelling place or home considered as a refuge from the elements: Everyone's basic needs are food, clothing, and shelter.
- a building serving as a temporary refuge or residence for homeless persons, abandoned animals, etc.
- Finance. tax shelter.
- to be a shelter for; afford shelter to: The old barn sheltered him from the rain.
- to provide with a shelter; place under cover.
- to protect, as by shelter; take under one's protection: Parents should not try to shelter their children from normal childhood disappointments.
- Finance. to invest (money) in a tax shelter.
- to take shelter; find a refuge: He sheltered in a barn.
- Finance. to invest money in a tax shelterd.
Origin of shelter
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for shelterless
They saw that their case was hapless, yet on they came across the shelterless plain.The Long Roll
He was a starving, shelterless outcast at the moment of his crime.Paris and the Social Revolution
Alvan Francis Sanborn
When I was shelterless, did you not open to me your home and your heart?Last of the Incas
It created an icy coldness as in a uniform and shelterless plain.The Apostles
Can Boston allow New York to excel it in caring for it shelterless workers?Broke
Edwin A. Brown
- something that provides cover or protection, as from weather or danger; place of refuge
- the protection afforded by such a cover; refuge
- the state of being sheltered
- (tr) to provide with or protect by a shelter
- (intr) to take cover, as from rain; find refuge
- (tr) to act as a shelter for; take under one's protection
Word Origin and History for shelterless
1580s, "structure affording protection," possibly an alteration of Middle English sheltron, sheldtrume "roof or wall formed by locked shields," from Old English scyldtruma, from scield "shield" (see shield (n.)) + truma "troop," related to Old English trum "firm, strong" (see trim).
If so, the original notion is of a compact body of men protected by interlocking shields. OED finds this "untenable" and proposed derivation from shield + -ture. Figurative sense is recorded from 1580s; meaning "temporary lodging for homeless poor" is first recorded 1890 in Salvation Army jargon; sense of "temporary home for animals" is from 1971. Related: Shelterless.