View synonyms for shelter


[ shel-ter ]


  1. something beneath, behind, or within which a person, animal, or thing is protected from storms, missiles, adverse conditions, etc.; refuge.

    Synonyms: harbor, haven, shield, sanctuary, asylum, retreat

  2. the protection or refuge afforded by such a thing:

    He took shelter in a nearby barn.

  3. protection from blame, incrimination, etc.
  4. a dwelling place or home considered as a refuge from the elements:

    Everyone's basic needs are food, clothing, and shelter.

  5. a building serving as a temporary refuge or residence for abandoned animals, people who are homeless, etc.: animal shelter.

    homeless shelter;

    animal shelter.

  6. Finance. tax shelter.

verb (used with object)

  1. to be a shelter for; afford shelter to:

    The old barn sheltered him from the rain.

    Synonyms: house, harbor

  2. to provide with a shelter; place under cover.
  3. to protect, as by shelter; take under one's protection:

    Parents should not try to shelter their children from normal childhood disappointments.

    Synonyms: defend, shield, safeguard, guard

  4. Finance. to invest (money) in a tax shelter.

verb (used without object)

  1. to take shelter; find a refuge:

    Students sheltered in the gymnasium when they heard the tornado sirens.

  2. Finance. to invest money in a tax shelter.


/ ˈʃɛltə /


  1. something that provides cover or protection, as from weather or danger; place of refuge
  2. the protection afforded by such a cover; refuge
  3. the state of being sheltered


  1. tr to provide with or protect by a shelter
  2. intr to take cover, as from rain; find refuge
  3. tr to act as a shelter for; take under one's protection

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Derived Forms

  • ˈshelterer, noun
  • ˈshelterless, adjective

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Other Words From

  • shel·ter·er noun
  • shel·ter·ing·ly adverb
  • shel·ter·less adjective
  • shel·ter·less·ness noun
  • self-shel·ter noun
  • un·shel·ter·ing adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of shelter1

First recorded in 1575–85; of uncertain origin; perhaps alteration of obsolete sheltron “testudo” (a protective vault formed of Roman legionaries' shields), Old English scieldtruma, equivalent to scield + truma “body of men in battle formation”; shield ( def ), trim

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Word History and Origins

Origin of shelter1

C16: of uncertain origin

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Synonym Study

See cover.

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Example Sentences

Milan Nicole Sherry, co-director of House of Tulip, told the Washington Blade on July 27 during an interview at her Uptown New Orleans home that she expects the shelter will open in the city next spring or summer.

Normally, most of the thousands of evacuees would be directed to traditional emergency shelters in convention centers and school gyms.

From Quartz

It’s especially important to look out for these behaviors if you’ve just adopted a shelter animal.

This speaks directly to notions from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, where work largely addresses psychological and safety needs such as shelter, food, and financial well-being.

This bureaucratic hurdle exists on top of the many challenges migrants are facing in the midst of the pandemic, including a shortage of shelter beds and a lack of food and jobs.

The grim instability of shelter life is hardly a recipe for success under the best of circumstances.

Some of them are trying to find places where they might be able to shelter if it comes to this.

Small rooms off its graffiti-covered foyer provide shelter from the thick rain that can unexpectedly, and vengefully, hit.

They sacrifice their shelter to contain the walkers—and Judith gets her first action scene!

After weeks or months in the line only a wound can offer him the comfort of safety, shelter, and a bed.

In their shelter, Brion and Ulv crouched low and wondered why the attack didn't come.

But one day when we marched beneath the blazing sun, we met a storm and found no shelter.

I feel proud and happy to shelter beneath my roof any of our valued and brave allies.

This man by hard, manual labor makes only enough to pay for humble shelter and plain food.

He lived for some time as a bandit, robbing the subjects of the King of Gath, who had given him shelter.





Sheltashelter belt