protected or shielded from storms, missiles, etc., by a wall, roof, barrier, or the like.
protected from the troubles, annoyances, sordidness, etc., encountered in competitive situations: a sheltered life.
(of a business or industry) enjoying noncompetitive conditions, as because of a protective tariff.
of or relating to employment or housing, especially for persons with disabilities, in a noncompetitive, supervised environment.

Origin of sheltered

First recorded in 1585–95; shelter + -ed2
Related formsself-shel·tered, adjectiveun·shel·tered, adjectivewell-shel·tered, adjective




something beneath, behind, or within which a person, animal, or thing is protected from storms, missiles, adverse conditions, etc.; refuge.
the protection or refuge afforded by such a thing: He took shelter in a nearby barn.
protection from blame, incrimination, etc.
a dwelling place or home considered as a refuge from the elements: Everyone's basic needs are food, clothing, and shelter.
a building serving as a temporary refuge or residence for homeless persons, abandoned animals, etc.
Finance. tax shelter.

verb (used with object)

to be a shelter for; afford shelter to: The old barn sheltered him from the rain.
to provide with a shelter; place under cover.
to protect, as by shelter; take under one's protection: Parents should not try to shelter their children from normal childhood disappointments.
Finance. to invest (money) in a tax shelter.

verb (used without object)

to take shelter; find a refuge: He sheltered in a barn.
Finance. to invest money in a tax shelterd.

Origin of shelter

1575–85; perhaps alteration of obsolete sheltron testudo, Old English scieldtruma, equivalent to scield shield + truma body of fighting men; see trim
Related formsshel·ter·er, nounshel·ter·ing·ly, adverbshel·ter·less, adjectiveshel·ter·less·ness, nounself-shel·ter, nounun·shel·ter·ing, adjective

Synonyms for shelter

Synonym study

1. See cover. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for sheltered

shady, protected, veiled, screened, protective

Examples from the Web for sheltered

Contemporary Examples of sheltered

Historical Examples of sheltered

  • The brain is hidden in darkness, sheltered within a box of bone.

  • Then the day slipped over an unseen height, and fell into a sheltered calm.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • The friendly creature who sheltered him trembled like an aspen.

  • In sheltered spots the glass rose as high as 31, and symptoms of a thaw appeared.

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • Frank tied the boat in a sheltered spot at the foot of the cliff.

British Dictionary definitions for sheltered



protected from wind or weathera sheltered garden
protected from outside influencesa sheltered upbringing
(of buildings) specially designed to provide a safe environment for the elderly, handicapped, or disabledsheltered workshops for the blind See also sheltered housing



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


(tr) to provide with or protect by a shelter
(intr) to take cover, as from rain; find refuge
(tr) to act as a shelter for; take under one's protection
Derived Formsshelterer, nounshelterless, adjective

Word Origin for shelter

C16: of uncertain origin
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 sheltered

"screened, protected," 1590s, past participle adjective from shelter (v.). Meaning "protected from the usual hardships of life" is from 1888. Related: Shelteredness.



1580s, "structure affording protection," possibly an alteration of Middle English sheltron, sheldtrume "roof or wall formed by locked shields," from Old English scyldtruma, from scield "shield" (see shield (n.)) + truma "troop," related to Old English trum "firm, strong" (see trim).

If so, the original notion is of a compact body of men protected by interlocking shields. OED finds this "untenable" and proposed derivation from shield + -ture. Figurative sense is recorded from 1580s; meaning "temporary lodging for homeless poor" is first recorded 1890 in Salvation Army jargon; sense of "temporary home for animals" is from 1971. Related: Shelterless.



1580s, "to screen, protect," from shelter (n.); in the income investment sense, from 1955. Meaning "to take shelter" is from c.1600. Related: Sheltered; sheltering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper