adjective, shad·i·er, shad·i·est.
  1. abounding in shade; shaded: shady paths.
  2. giving shade: a shady tree.
  3. shadowy; indistinct; spectral.
  4. of dubious character; rather disreputable: shady dealings.
  1. on the shady side of, Informal. beyond (the specified age); more than: on the shady side of 40.

Origin of shady

First recorded in 1570–80; shade + -y1
Related formsshad·i·ly, adverbshad·i·ness, nounun·shad·i·ly, adverbun·shad·i·ness, nounun·shad·y, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for shadily


adjective shadier or shadiest
  1. full of shade; shaded
  2. affording or casting a shade
  3. dim, quiet, or concealed
  4. informal dubious or questionable as to honesty or legality
Derived Formsshadily, adverbshadiness, noun
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 shadily



"affording shade," 1570s; "protected by shade," 1590s; from shade (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "disreputable" (1862) probably is from earlier university slang sense of "of questionable merit, unreliable" (1848). Related: Shadily; shadiness. Old English had sceadlic "shady, 'shadely.'"

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper