[ oh-ver-shad-oh ]
/ ˌoʊ vərˈʃæd oʊ /

verb (used with object)

to be more important or significant by comparison: For years he overshadowed his brother.
to cast a shadow over; cover with shadows, clouds, darkness, etc.; darken or obscure: clouds overshadowing the moon.
to make sad or hang heavily over; cast a pall on: a disappointment that overshadowed their last years.
Archaic. to shelter or protect.

Nearby words

  1. oversensitive,
  2. overset,
  3. oversew,
  4. oversexed,
  5. overshade,
  6. overshare,
  7. overshine,
  8. overshirt,
  9. overshoe,
  10. overshoot

Origin of overshadow

before 900; Middle English overshadewen, Old English ofersceadwian. See over-, shadow

Related formso·ver·shad·ow·er, nouno·ver·shad·ow·ing·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for overshadow

British Dictionary definitions for overshadow


/ (ˌəʊvəˈʃædəʊ) /

verb (tr)

to render insignificant or less important in comparison
to cast a shadow or gloom over
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

Word Origin and History for overshadow



Old English ofersceadwian "to cast a shadow over, obscure;" see over + shadow (v.). It was used to render Latin obumbrare in New Testament, as were Middle High German überschatewen, Middle Dutch overschaduwen, Gothic ufarskadwjan. Figurative sense is from 1580s. Related: Overshadowed; overshadowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper