[ shal-oh ]
See synonyms for: shallowshallowershallowsshallowness on

adjective,shal·low·er, shal·low·est.
  1. of little depth; not deep: shallow water.

  2. lacking depth; superficial: a mind that is not narrow but shallow.

  1. taking in a relatively small amount of air in each inhalation: shallow breathing.

  2. Baseball. relatively close to home plate: The shortstop caught the pop fly in shallow left field.

  1. Usually shallows. (used with a singular or plural verb) a shallow part of a body of water; shoal.

  1. Baseball. at a shallow position: With the pitcher up, the outfielders played shallow.

verb (used with or without object)
  1. to make or become shallow.

Origin of shallow

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English schalowe (adjective); akin to Old English sceald “shallow” (see shoal1)

Other words from shallow

  • shal·low·ly, adverb
  • shal·low·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use shallow in a sentence

  • Standing on the shore, one can see kelp growing amongst the rocks even in the shallowest spots, below low-water level.

    The Home of the Blizzard | Douglas Mawson
  • This unexpected assistance was gratefully accepted, and Jason bravely waded into the shallowest part of the stream.

  • I simply drowned in the shallowest pond of numbers that ever spread itself on the page.

  • The moment the shallowest point is reached, the pilot delivers the order, 'Let go the buoy!'

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete | Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • When he brings it eagerly, commence your diving lesson by throwing it into the shallowest parts of the stream.

    Dog Breaking | William Nelson Hutchinson

British Dictionary definitions for shallow


/ (ˈʃæləʊ) /

  1. having little depth

  2. lacking intellectual or mental depth or subtlety; superficial

  1. (often plural) a shallow place in a body of water; shoal

  1. to make or become shallow

Origin of shallow

C15: related to Old English sceald shallow; see shoal 1

Derived forms of shallow

  • shallowly, adverb
  • shallowness, 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