See more synonyms for shed on
verb (used with object), shed, shed·ding.
  1. to pour forth (water or other liquid), as a fountain.
  2. to emit and let fall, as tears.
  3. to impart or release; give or send forth (light, sound, fragrance, influence, etc.).
  4. to resist being penetrated or affected by: cloth that sheds water.
  5. to cast off or let fall (leaves, hair, feathers, skin, shell, etc.) by natural process.
  6. Textiles. to separate (the warp) in forming a shed.
verb (used without object), shed, shed·ding.
  1. to fall off, as leaves.
  2. to drop out, as hair, seed, grain, etc.
  3. to cast off hair, feathers, skin, or other covering or parts by natural process.
  1. Textiles. (on a loom) a triangular, transverse opening created between raised and lowered warp threads through which the shuttle passes in depositing the loose pick.
  1. shed blood,
    1. to cause blood to flow.
    2. to kill by violence; slaughter.

Origin of shed

before 950; Middle English s(c)hed(d)en (v.), Old English scēadan, variant of sceādan; cognate with German scheiden to divide
Related formsshed·a·ble, shed·da·ble, adjectivenon·shed·ding, adjectiveun·shed·ding, adjective

Synonyms for shed

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shedding

dropping, desquamation

Examples from the Web for shedding

Contemporary Examples of shedding

Historical Examples of shedding

British Dictionary definitions for shedding


  1. a small building or lean-to of light construction, used for storage, shelter, etc
  2. a large roofed structure, esp one with open sides, used for storage, repairing locomotives, sheepshearing, etc
  3. a large retail outlet in the style of a warehouse
  4. NZ another name for freezing works
  5. in the shed NZ at work
verb sheds, shedding or shedded
  1. (tr) NZ to store (hay or wool) in a shed
Derived Formsshedlike, adjective

Word Origin for shed

Old English sced; probably variant of scead shelter, shade


verb sheds, shedding or shed (mainly tr)
  1. to pour forth or cause to pour forthto shed tears; shed blood
  2. shed light on, shed light upon, throw light on or throw light upon to clarify or supply additional information about
  3. to cast off or losethe snake shed its skin; trees shed their leaves
  4. (of a lorry) to drop (its load) on the road by accident
  5. to abolish or get rid of (jobs, workers, etc)
  6. to repelthis coat sheds water
  7. (also intr) (in weaving) to form an opening between (the warp threads) in order to permit the passage of the shuttle
  8. (tr) dialect to make a parting in (the hair)
  1. (in weaving) the space made by shedding
  2. short for watershed
  3. mainly Scot a parting in the hair
Derived Formsshedable or sheddable, adjective

Word Origin for shed

Old English sceadan; related to Gothic skaidan, Old High German skeidan to separate; see sheath


verb sheds, shedding or shed
  1. (tr) to separate or divide off (some farm animals) from the remainder of a groupa good dog can shed his sheep in a matter of minutes
  1. (of a dog) the action of separating farm animals
Derived Formsshedding, noun

Word Origin for shed

from shed ²


  1. physics a former unit of nuclear cross section equal to 10 –52 square metre

Word Origin for shed

C20: from shed 1; so called by comparison to barn ² because of its smaller size
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 shedding



"building for storage," 1855, earlier "light, temporary shelter" (late 15c., shadde), possibly a dialectal variant of a specialized use of shade (n.). Originally of the barest sort of shelter. Or from or influenced in sense development by Middle English schudde (shud) "a shed, hut."



"cast off," Old English sceadan, scadan "to divide, separate, part company; discriminate, decide; scatter abroad, cast about," strong verb (past tense scead, past participle sceadan), from Proto-Germanic *skaithan (cf. Old Saxon skethan, Old Frisian sketha, Middle Dutch sceiden, Dutch scheiden, Old High German sceidan, German scheiden "part, separate, distinguish," Gothic skaidan "separate"), from *skaith "divide, split."

According to Klein's sources, this probably is related to PIE root *skei- "to cut, separate, divide, part, split" (cf. Sanskrit chid-, Greek skhizein, Latin scindere "to split;" Lithuanian skedzu "I make thin, separate, divide;" Old Irish scian "knife;" Welsh chwydu "to break open"). Related: Shedding. A shedding-tooth (1799) was a milk-tooth or baby-tooth.

In reference to animals, "to lose hair, feathers, etc." recorded from c.1500; of trees losing leaves from 1590s; of clothes, 1858. This verb was used in Old English to gloss Late Latin words in the sense "to discriminate, to decide" that literally mean "to divide, separate" (cf. discern). Hence also scead (n.) "separation, distinction; discretion, understanding, reason;" sceadwisnes "discrimination, discretion."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper