verb (used with object)


of or relating to a shadow cabinet.
without official authority: a shadow government.

Nearby words

  1. shades of,
  2. shadfly,
  3. shading,
  4. shadkhan,
  5. shadoof,
  6. shadow bands,
  7. shadow box,
  8. shadow boxing,
  9. shadow cabinet,
  10. shadow dance

Origin of shadow

before 900; (noun) Middle English sch(e)adew(e), schadow, shadw(e), Old English scead(u)we, oblique case of sceadu shade; (v.) Middle English; Old English sceadwian to protect, cover, overshadow, derivative of the noun; compare Old Saxon skadowan, skadoian, Gothic -skadwjan

Related formsshad·ow·er, nounshad·ow·less, adjectiveshad·ow·like, adjectivepre·shad·ow, noun, verb (used with object)

Synonym study

1. See shade. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shadow

British Dictionary definitions for shadow



a dark image or shape cast on a surface by the interception of light rays by an opaque body
an area of relative darkness
the dark portions of a picture
a hint, image, or faint semblancebeyond a shadow of a doubt
a remnant or vestigea shadow of one's past self
a reflection
a threatening influence; blighta shadow over one's happiness
a spectre
an inseparable companion
a person who trails another in secret, such as a detective
med a dark area on an X-ray film representing an opaque structure or part
(in Jungian psychology) the archetype that represents man's animal ancestors
archaic, or rare protection or shelter
(modifier) British designating a member or members of the main opposition party in Parliament who would hold ministerial office if their party were in powershadow Chancellor; shadow cabinet

verb (tr)

to cast a shadow over
to make dark or gloomy; blight
to shade from light
to follow or trail secretly
(often foll by forth) to represent vaguely
painting drawing another word for shade (def. 13)
Derived Formsshadower, nounshadowless, adjective

Word Origin for shadow

Old English sceadwe, oblique case of sceadu shade; related to Dutch schaduw

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 shadow
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with shadow


In addition to the idiom beginning with shadow

  • shadow of one's self

also see:

  • afraid of one's own shadow
  • beyond a (shadow of a) doubt
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.