[ sheyd ]
See synonyms for: shadeshadedshadesshading on

  1. the comparative darkness caused by the interception or screening of rays of light from an object, place, or area.

  2. a place or an area of comparative darkness, such as one sheltered from the sun.

  1. a lampshade.

  2. anything used for protection against excessive light, heat, etc.

  3. a shadow.

  4. the degree of darkness of a color, determined by the quantity of black or by the lack of illumination.

  5. comparative darkness, as the effect of shadow or dark and light, in pictorial representation; the dark part, or a dark part, of a picture or drawing.

  6. (in architectural shades and shadows) a shadow upon those parts of a solid that are tangent to or turned away from the parallel rays from the theoretical light source.: Compare shadow (def. 11).

  7. shades,

    • Informal. sunglasses.

    • darkness gathering at the close of day: Shades of night are falling.

    • a reminder of something: shades of the Inquisition.

  8. a slight variation or degree: a shade of difference.

  9. a little bit; touch, especially of something that may change the color of or lighten or darken something else: coffee with a shade of cream.

  10. Usually shades. a secluded or obscure place: He was living in the shades.

  11. comparative obscurity.

  12. Slang. insults, criticism, or disrespect delivered in an indirect, artful manner: The network cast some subtle shade at its rival with its new advertisement.No shade to anyone with kids out there, but I could never be a parent.

  13. a specter or ghost.

  14. Greek Mythology, Roman Mythology. one of the spirits of the dead inhabiting Hades.

  15. the shades, Hades, as the abode of the spirits of the dead.

verb (used with object),shad·ed, shad·ing.
  1. to produce comparative darkness in or on.

  2. to obscure, dim, or darken.

  1. to screen or hide from view.

  2. to protect (something) from light, heat, etc., by or as if by a screen: It is important to shade the eyes from a bright light.

  3. to cover or screen (a candle, light, etc.): Shade the light to protect your eyes.

  4. Fine Arts.

    • to introduce degrees of darkness into (a drawing or painting) in order to render light and shadow or give the effect of color.

    • to render the values of light and dark in (a drawn figure, object, etc.), especially in order to create the illusion of three-dimensionality.

  5. to change by imperceptible degrees into something else.

  6. to reduce (the price) by way of a concession.

  7. Slang. to insult, criticize, or disrespect (a person or thing) in an indirect, artful manner: He got into a fight with someone who shaded his mom.

verb (used without object),shad·ed, shad·ing.
  1. to pass or change by slight graduations, as one color, quality, or thing into another.

Verb Phrases
  1. shade up, Agriculture. to take shelter (as livestock) from the sun.

Idioms about shade

  1. cast / put someone in / into the shade, to make another person's efforts seem insignificant by comparison; surpass: The architectural brilliance of the celebrated city put the sights of my hometown in the shade.

  2. throw shade, Slang. to insult, criticize, or disrespect a person or thing in an indirect, artful manner:He threw some shade at his former boss.

Origin of shade

First recorded before 900; 1960–65 for def. 30; 2010–15 for def. 31; Middle English noun s(c)hade, Old English sceadu; cognate with German Schatten, Gothic skadus, Greek skótos; verb derivative of the noun; see also shadow

synonym study For shade

1. Shade, shadow imply partial darkness or something less bright than the surroundings. Shade indicates the lesser brightness and heat of an area where the direct rays of light do not fall: the shade of a tree. It differs from shadow in that it implies no particular form or definite limit, whereas shadow often refers to the form or outline of the object that intercepts the light: the shadow of a dog. 5. See curtain.

regional variation note For shade

3. See window shade.

Other words for shade

Opposites for shade

Other words from shade

  • shade·less, adjective
  • shade·less·ness, noun
  • in·ter·shade, verb (used with object), in·ter·shad·ed, in·ter·shad·ing.
  • sem·i·shade, noun
  • un·shade, verb (used with object), un·shad·ed, un·shad·ing.

Words that may be confused with shade

Words Nearby shade Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use shade in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for shade


/ (ʃeɪd) /

  1. relative darkness produced by the blocking out of light

  2. a place made relatively darker or cooler than other areas by the blocking of light, esp sunlight

  1. a position of relative obscurity

  2. something used to provide a shield or protection from a direct source of light, such as a lampshade

  3. a darker area indicated in a painting, drawing, etc, by shading

  4. a colour that varies slightly from a standard colour due to a difference in hue, saturation, or luminosity: a darker shade of green

  5. a slight amount: a shade of difference

  6. literary a ghost

  7. an archaic word for shadow

  8. put in the shade to appear better than (another); surpass

verb(mainly tr)
  1. to screen or protect from heat, light, view, etc

  2. to make darker or dimmer

  1. to represent (a darker area) in (a painting, drawing, etc), by means of hatching, using a darker colour, etc

  2. (also intr) to change or cause to change slightly

  3. to lower (a price) slightly

Origin of shade

Old English sceadu; related to Gothic skadus, Old High German skato, Old Irish scāth shadow, Greek skotos darkness, Swedish skäddä fog

Derived forms of shade

  • shadeless, adjective

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