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See more synonyms for shady on Thesaurus.com
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.
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  1. on the shady side of, Informal. beyond (the specified age); more than: on the shady side of 40.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shady

shadowy, shaded, leafy, cloudy, questionable, underhanded, unscrupulous, crooked, dishonest, dubious, slippery, cool, dim, dusky, indistinct, sheltered, vague, screened, umbrageous, adumbral

Examples from the Web for shady

Contemporary Examples of shady

Historical Examples of shady

  • His whole appearance was suggestive of the shady side of life.


    W. A. Fraser

  • His carriage was awaiting him in a shady corner of the Binnenhof.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • She looked so cool and restful in her white frock and shady hat.

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • Her own room was on the shady side where pots of mignonette died within a week.


    Emile Zola

  • On several occasions the Coupeaus fancied they saw her in some shady dive.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for shady


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
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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 shady


"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.'"

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper