• synonyms


See more synonyms for shadowy on Thesaurus.com
adjective, shad·ow·i·er, shad·ow·i·est.
  1. resembling a shadow in faintness, slightness, etc.: shadowy outlines.
  2. unsubstantial, unreal, or illusory: shadowy preoccupations.
  3. abounding in shadow; shady: a shadowy path.
  4. enveloped in shadow.
  5. casting a shadow.
Show More

Origin of shadowy

First recorded in 1325–75, shadowy is from the Middle English word shadewy. See shadow, -y1
Related formsshad·ow·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shadowy

dark, shady, ghostly, chimerical, cloudy, dim, dreamy, faint, illusory, imaginary, indistinct, obscure, unsubstantial, vague, visionary, adumbral, umbral

Examples from the Web for shadowy

Contemporary Examples of shadowy

Historical Examples of shadowy

  • He had got a dangerous game to play, and his plans were vague and shadowy.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • He hesitated on the pavement, his eyes searching the shadowy balcony.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The Princess and her women lost themselves in the shadowy wood.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • From the woods there emerged the shadowy forms of three men.

  • And in the low bushes could be discerned the lurking, furtive, shadowy jackals.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for shadowy


  1. full of shadows; dark; shady
  2. resembling a shadow in faintness; vague
  3. illusory or imaginary
  4. mysterious or secretivea shadowy underworld figure
Show More
Derived Formsshadowiness, 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 shadowy


late 14c., shadewy, "full of shadows," also "transitory, fleeting, unreal;" see shadow (n.) + -y (2). From 1797 as "faintly perceptible." Related: Shadowiness. Old English had sceadwig "shady."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper