[ shel-ter ]
See synonyms for: sheltershelteredsheltering on

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

  2. the protection or refuge afforded by such a thing: He took shelter in a nearby barn.

  1. protection from blame, incrimination, etc.

  2. a dwelling place or home considered as a refuge from the elements: Everyone's basic needs are food, clothing, and shelter.

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

  4. Finance. tax shelter.

verb (used with object)
  1. to be a shelter for; afford shelter to: The old barn sheltered him from the rain.

  2. to provide with a shelter; place under cover.

  1. to protect, as by shelter; take under one's protection: Parents should not try to shelter their children from normal childhood disappointments.

  2. 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.

Origin of shelter

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”; see origin at shield, trim

synonym study For shelter

1. See cover.

Other words for shelter

Other words from shelter

  • 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

Words Nearby shelter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use shelter in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for 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

  1. 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

  1. (tr) to act as a shelter for; take under one's protection

Origin of shelter

C16: of uncertain origin

Derived forms of shelter

  • shelterer, noun
  • shelterless, adjective

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