adjective, shad·i·er, shad·i·est.

abounding in shade; shaded: shady paths.
giving shade: a shady tree.
shadowy; indistinct; spectral.
of dubious character; rather disreputable: shady dealings.


    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. 2019

Examples from the Web for shadiness

Historical Examples of shadiness

  • I feel gratefully the coolness and shadiness and quiet of the room.

    The Moonstone

    Wilkie Collins

  • There was a difference of opinion among a lot of the men at lunch as to the shadiness or not of some transaction.

  • When I took them to my room to wash their hands they sighed with pleasure at its shadiness and quiet.

    In the Mountains

    Elizabeth von Arnim

British Dictionary definitions for shadiness


adjective shadier or shadiest

full of shade; shaded
affording or casting a shade
dim, quiet, or concealed
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 shadiness



"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