Definition of shadow in English:



  • 1A dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface.

    ‘trees cast long shadows’
    • ‘The silent roadway looked like a long riband of polished silver, flecked here and there by the dark arabesques of waving shadows.’
    • ‘Instead, the light cast shadows around him, encircling him passively.’
    • ‘The Peledrim Forest itself looked sinister and forbidding, and the trees cast long shadows in the dim light of the setting sun.’
    • ‘When they were pretty well out of sight, there was a bright flash of light and a large shadow was cast over the area of about a football field.’
    • ‘The light diode was casting shadows though a cracked door to the bedroom.’
    • ‘She was walking quite fast and her tiny slim body gave a vague shadow in the street lights.’
    • ‘The sand felt gritty beneath her toes as she saw the dark shadow standing, watching the waves go out.’
    • ‘The extra light cast eerie shadows on the glistening metal walls, not helping the sick feeling in her stomach.’
    • ‘The dark shadows crept across the ground, the swirling surface trembling at their presence.’
    • ‘He spun on shaky legs, relieved to see that he hadn't collapsed yet, and saw his own Mercedes still sitting under the dark shadows of the tall oak.’
    • ‘One of the dark shadows moved and slowly came towards her.’
    • ‘Silently he observed them from the shadows of the forest's trees.’
    • ‘Their bodies cast large shadows on the black pavement, and it appeared as the shadow was one large person.’
    • ‘Two Senshi sat there watching some displays, their shapes casting huge shadows in the fain light from the monitors.’
    • ‘One of his favorite motifs was the mermaid whose undulating body allowed light to cast shadows over the surface.’
    • ‘The glow still present, the figure turned, revolving, and the dim light cast a monstrous shadow of it on the trunk of a tree nearby.’
    • ‘I felt very grateful for Anna's presence as we walked in the dark, our shadows projecting onto the dark road and into the fields beyond, as she expressed gratitude for mine.’
    • ‘Its multicolored lights cast different shadows on the living room floor.’
    • ‘Light penetrates these holes and casts thin shadows across the print surface.’
    • ‘A light periodically shone through the cutout shape, casting a shadow onto the glass that resembled a tower.’
    silhouette, outline, shape, contour, profile
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    1. 1.1mass noun Partial or complete darkness, especially as produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface.
      ‘the north side of the cathedral was deep in shadow’
      ‘a stranger slowly approached from the shadows’
      • ‘The moody landscapes with splashes of garish neon, the darkness and shadow - all that translates very well from the console.’
      • ‘I stayed hidden in the shadows as I followed his small figure stealthily.’
      • ‘He drew back into the deep shadow and waited, if only to calm himself down.’
      • ‘But then they were gone, lost in the deep blanket of shadow and hair that covered his face.’
      • ‘The door closed softly but firmly behind her, shrouding the room in darkness and deep shadows.’
      • ‘So you do have the atmosphere of secrecy, of secret activity, of heavily-built, faceless men observing from the shadows.’
      • ‘She walked over to the corner behind Leon, where she was partially hidden in shadow, and began looking at the floor.’
      • ‘A third figure is in deep shadow, but we can make out a dark purple suit.’
      • ‘The Axis told her it would be better to blend in with, shadow on shadow, darkness on black.’
      • ‘He didn't want to look suspicious to them so he stayed in the shadows to observe.’
      • ‘He let the larger trout stay in the shadows near the banks and fished the middle of the stream in journeyman fashion.’
      • ‘He pointed to where the hills began to grow into baby-mountains, a place already deep in shadow.’
      • ‘Just as she darted into the shadows, her dark cloak billowing behind her, showing a flash of crimson, a loud ruckus came from the front door.’
      • ‘He often spied on her, watching from the shadows, observing her every gesture.’
      • ‘She broke the kiss to look deeply in her lover's eyes and found them the color of deep shadow.’
      • ‘If you can't quite see the actors who are in deep shadow, and you can't quite make out what the leading lady is saying, the evening becomes a bit of an uphill climb.’
      • ‘Remember: not all that walks in shadow is darkness.’
      • ‘Anonymous figures emerge from deep shadow, often the striped shadows of the tracks.’
      • ‘The entire world outside lay painted in dark blue shadows and pale moonlight and the snow muffled the land beneath it to absolute silence.’
      • ‘Instead of explosions, we find delicately crafted compositions of shadow and darkness.’
      shade, shadowiness, darkness, gathering darkness, dimness, semi-darkness, twilight
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    2. 1.2mass noun The shaded part of a picture.
      • ‘Flesh tones are accurate, and the few dark areas have detailed shadows.’
      • ‘My doodling ended up being dark shadows of unknown objects.’
      • ‘Lines are often bold and thick, and the tight, even hatching sometimes dissolves in to smooth gradations of shadow.’
      • ‘Line quality is consistently easy and illusionistic shadow is largely uniform and tastefully dramatic.’
      • ‘As Gowing says, Vermeer's rendering of shadow not only obscures line, it interrupts and denies it.’
    3. 1.3 A dark patch or area on a surface.
      ‘her face was pale and there were shadows under her eyes’
      • ‘He was much too pale, except for the dark shadows beneath his eyes.’
      • ‘His hair was still a bit long and rather floppy, yet it wasn't streaked with silver, and his eyes still looked fairly tired with small, dark shadows hanging beneath each.’
      • ‘His hair was scattered over his forehead and ears, his mouth was loose, his eyes almost invisible in their dark shadows.’
      • ‘She looked as if she had been crying because her cheeks were red and puffy and her eyes looked red-rimmed with dark shadows beneath them.’
      • ‘Her eyes held dark shadows beneath them, and her shoulders stooped with exhaustion.’
      • ‘Hugo held something dark in the palm of his hand about the size of a guinea and when the Captain turned away from him I noticed that the black shadow of his patch had gone.’
      • ‘Dark shadows, even darker than Charlie's, sat beneath his coal gray eyes and the red veins in his eyes had become shockingly apparent.’
      • ‘Dark shadows mar the delicate skin beneath her red-rimmed emerald eyes and she seems to be much thinner than I last remember.’
      • ‘Dark shadows under her large, heavily lashed eyes muted their color.’
      • ‘There were dark shadows beneath my eyes, the result of too many late nights, plus a combination of illicit drugs and alcohol.’
      • ‘Beneath her eyes, he saw the dark shadows that copious tears had produced.’
      • ‘He did look awful; the shadows beneath his eyes were even darker this morning in contrast to the pallor of his face.’
      • ‘The other prisoners often screamed in their sleep, so he was rarely able to doze off, and dark shadows lay beneath his empty eyes.’
      • ‘Mysterious shadows formed on the dark pillows on the couch.’
      • ‘His eyes seemed more sunken in and dark shadows lay beneath them.’
      • ‘His hair still stuck up in odd places and the shadows beneath his eyes only seemed to have grown darker.’
      • ‘His face, blank and colorless, was detailed only by the dark shadows beneath his eyes and the nest of light brown hair atop his head.’
      • ‘He laughed loudly and the dark shadows from his eyes disappeared.’
      • ‘Then he saw the dark shadow beneath the water of something extremely large.’
      • ‘She looked strained, with dark shadows under her lovely green eyes.’
    4. 1.4 A region of opacity on a radiograph.
      ‘shadows on his lungs’
  • 2Used in reference to proximity, ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom.

    ‘the shadow of war fell across Europe’
    ‘only one shadow lay over Sally's life’
    • ‘Like the Holocaust and the Red Terror, human rights lived in the shadows of the Cold War world, between 1945 and the mid-1970s.’
    • ‘Out of the shadows Revolutionary War brought a shift in thought about women.’
    • ‘An ominous shadow hung over me, encasing my soul in darkness.’
    • ‘Raised in Boston's industrial city of Lowell, Massachusetts, Bette Davis was born in the shadow of one war, and worked through the next.’
    • ‘We've lived in the shadow of the seven-inch single for almost two decades now.’
    • ‘The growing importance of families in the shadow of war had profound effects, too, on the discussion of women's rights.’
    • ‘In the array of colors lay hidden shadows, unshed tears, and embers of a poetic fire he couldn't help but love.’
    • ‘When the officials raise the garage door there is a sudden burst of light which suggests that he is being pulled from the shadows of obscurity.’
    • ‘The war did leave a shadow in my mind, but the thing I most feared had already happened.’
    • ‘Uncertainty prevails in the shadows of the Iraq war and no one can predict the stock market.’
    • ‘But even within the memory of this splendid Olympics there still hangs the huge shadow of the use of performance enhancing substances.’
    • ‘A group of rabbits had made their warren here years ago, and lived under the shadow of werewolves in relative safety.’
    • ‘Elaine gave him a slight smile but he could see the shadow of sadness in her eyes.’
    • ‘The 1968 campaign had been divisive as it was fought in the shadow of the Vietnam War.’
    • ‘Why has this area of law emerged from the shadows of obscurity?’
    • ‘Human flesh appears cheap; expires through decay or a bullet; why bother ourselves about growing up in the shadows of war and exile?’
    • ‘She looked up from her book when two shadows fell over her.’
    • ‘Any contribution that brings the life and thought of a woman out of the shadows of historical obscurity is a valuable contribution.’
    • ‘For more than three years, they've mourned her loss and lived in the shadow of suspicion.’
    • ‘Now, the shadow of sadness had grown, and Anne began to grow lonely at night.’
    cloud, black cloud, pall
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    1. 2.1 Used in reference to something insubstantial or fleeting.
      ‘a freedom that was more shadow than substance’
      • ‘She had to chase them and somehow capture them - but how in blazes was she supposed to ‘capture’ a memory, a fleeting shadow in her mind?’
      • ‘With haste, this shadow rode, a fleeting figure among the stable, unmoving objects of nature, the trees and bushes.’
      • ‘The difference between contemplating preemptive war and jumping at shadows can become perilously thin.’
      • ‘The prince wearily rose, the burden of almost single-handedly waging a war against shadows weighing him down.’
    2. 2.2 Used in reference to a position of relative inferiority or obscurity.
      ‘he lived in the shadow of his father’
      • ‘For Plato, our senses are deceptive and what we experience in our daily lives is not reality but the shadow of reality.’
      • ‘This series will continue to sink into obscurity, remaining where it belongs: in the shadow of much better giant robot series.’
      • ‘He was a runt, a weakling brought up in the shadow of an accomplished elder brother who died of smallpox when Charles was 12.’
      • ‘That goes a long way in the halls of local high schools, where they would otherwise spend their adolescence obscured by the shadows of the jocks and cheerleaders.’
      • ‘If it has this much power, why is friendship so utterly in the shadow of romantic love, with its relatively predictable and well-trod narrative arch?’
      • ‘Will Kit finally step beyond the shadow of her older sister?’
      • ‘It must have been hard for her to step out of the shadows and carry the second film.’
      • ‘They live their daily existence in the shadow of one of the busiest travel destinations in the world.’
      • ‘Jessica glanced down at her own daughter and hoped she would be a beauty, otherwise the girl would spend the rest of her life in the shadows of her sister.’
      • ‘Christina grows up in the shadow of her older sister, whom everyone considers to be smarter, more creative, and more promising.’
      • ‘As the second sister, Regan often appears in the shadow of her older sister.’
      • ‘Each struggles with the idea of bringing their need for intimacy out of the shadows.’
      • ‘It was that damn Voltaire - his shadow obscured just about everyone else.’
    3. 2.3with negative The slightest trace of something.
      ‘she knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was lying’
      • ‘But suddenly, he knew without a shadow of a doubt who this woman was.’
      • ‘She had never admitted that she was an agent before, either, even though he knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was.’
      • ‘Rebecca knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was compatible with Bryan.’
      • ‘In all the years that Sam has known Julien, which were many by the way, she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only thing that mattered to him was his video games.’
      • ‘People who want to know the source of their fish without a shadow of a doubt might opt to catch it themselves.’
      • ‘What we can say beyond a shadow of a doubt is that regular, adequate rest is an absolute must for the active guy who's looking to keep making gains in the gym.’
      • ‘My favorite haunt in London, without a shadow of a doubt!’
      • ‘It seemed to him that Tanaki's eyes always hid a shadow of coldness.’
      • ‘Well, the judge explained that what they're looking for here is somewhere between absolute certainty and just a shadow of a doubt.’
      • ‘The last thing she remembered seeing was the smirking face of Kyle Stratford, and she knew without a shadow of a doubt that they had been set up.’
      • ‘The Count is king of the keyboard, beyond a shadow of a doubt.’
      • ‘It's a disc of the year without a shadow of a doubt, but more than that, I think it's one of the best violin records I've ever heard.’
      • ‘I think part of the reason I'm afraid that his family is going to freak is because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that mine will.’
      • ‘There was never a shred, never a shadow of a doubt that she had anything to do with the disappearance of Michael and Alex.’
      • ‘Without a shadow of a doubt in his mind, she was the girl for him.’
      • ‘Here's my favorite post of the month, bar none, of all the blogs, where Moby confirms his geekiness beyond a shadow of a doubt.’
      • ‘He then proceeded to tell me that without a shadow of a doubt he should be able to get online right now or he was going to cancel his account.’
      • ‘He felt like he should know, beyond a shadow of a doubt.’
      • ‘Less than half way through the overture I know without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be a professional oboist.’
      • ‘It was the first time Shawn had felt it, and it would, without a shadow of a doubt, be the last time.’
      slightest bit, trace, scrap, shred, crumb, particle, ounce, atom, iota, scintilla, jot, whit, grain, tittle, jot or tittle
      trace, hint, suggestion, suspicion, ghost, glimmer, flicker
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    4. 2.4 A weak or inferior remnant or version of something.
      ‘this fine-looking, commanding man had become a shadow of his former self’
      • ‘By now Chopin was physically a shadow of himself; but it was not just lack of strength that made him play forte passages piano or pianissimo.’
      • ‘Clearly the combination of diet root beer and too little ice cream had produced a mediocre product, a shadow of a true root beer float.’
      • ‘That is to say, a facsimile, a carbon copy, a wisp of a ghost of a shadow of a bagel.’
      • ‘Yet he remains a shadow, following behind Buddha rather than being an independent person.’
      • ‘I smile at them brightly, a shadow of the girl they always wanted, and run up the stairs, excusing myself from the table.’
      • ‘He drifted by, a silent specter, a shadow of what he once had been.’
      • ‘For your brilliance is only a shadow of what is to come.’
      • ‘As the days went by, his father's condition worsened until he became merely a shadow of the great, massive man he once was.’
      • ‘The sickness was far progressed by that time, and the emancipated retching man that had spoken to a younger boy was only a shadow of his father.’
      • ‘The smile was thin, only a pale shadow of what it used to be.’
      • ‘But it is just a shadow of the bustling place it was from the 1860s through to 1907, when the leaders both died.’
      • ‘In memory only part of experiences are seen as they really were, while others fade into a shadow of themselves.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, this is only a shadow of the original, and fairly or not comes off as a cheap knock-off of a classic film.’
      • ‘She had realized then, as she realized now, that her feelings, her emotions, her very soul, were but a shadow of what they once were.’
      • ‘They are already merely a shadow of the company they were.’
      • ‘Wall Street and the City would be a shadow of themselves.’
      • ‘After ‘shedding’ his ego in favor of Socrates, after rejecting all his old friends, he is no more than a shadow of his old self, and of Socrates.’
      • ‘Jared is a great man where Anthony is but a shadow of a boy.’
      • ‘Like the American cinema, the American theatre is today a pale shadow of what it used to be; this film is a reminder of what we're missing.’
      • ‘I am nothing more than a shadow of my old self, I am told.’
      inferior version, poor imitation, apology, travesty
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    5. 2.5 An expression of perplexity or sadness.
      ‘a shadow crossed Maria's face’
      • ‘A shadow crossed her face but disappeared behind her eyes as quickly as it had appeared.’
      • ‘She faltered at his tone, but would have gone on to press him some more when a shadow crossed over his face and she realized Kim was approaching once again.’
      • ‘He had not caught the deadly shadow that had crossed her face just a moment ago.’
      • ‘Still, a shadow crosses Jack's resolutely clouded eyes as he detects a snag in the plan.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed his face, and he quickly changed the topic.’
      • ‘She stopped herself when she thought she saw the tiniest hint of a shadow cross David's expectant face.’
      • ‘Mel shook her head, a shadow crossing her face as she remembered about the sketch.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed Adam's face as Melissa compared him to Zachary.’
      • ‘Her expression suddenly changed as a shadow crossed.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed Katherine's face as she saw Helena use Orion as a human shield.’
      • ‘A shadow seemed to cross both of the brother's faces as Damien sat down next to Morgan.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed her face at his words and Dmitri became serious again.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed his features, covering them in a mixture of guilt and weariness.’
      • ‘Neither of them noticed a shadow cross the stranger's face.’
      • ‘A shadow seemed to cross his face as his vivid blue eyes took on a faint look of regret.’
      • ‘She turned to look out at the street, and let the shadows swallow her expression.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed over her face when she mentioned it, and it struck fear into my heart.’
      • ‘A grim shadow crossed his face, however, that quickly turned the grin to a frown.’
      • ‘A shadow seemed to suddenly cross his devilish looks, and he avoided my eyes.’
      • ‘A shadow seemed to cross over Billy's face and he looked down.’
  • 3An inseparable attendant or companion.

    ‘her faithful shadow, a Yorkshire terrier called Heathcliffe’
    • ‘She had become her shadow, following her around like a string.’
    constant companion, inseparable companion, alter ego, second self, siamese twin
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    1. 3.1 A person secretly following and observing another.
      ‘no matter where Johnson went, his shadow stayed with him’
      • ‘Being fascinated by the beauty of the park, she never noticed the shadow following her.’
      • ‘I already had a shadow and another shadow following my other shadow.’
    2. 3.2 A person that accompanies someone in their daily activities at work in order to gain experience at or insight into a job.
      • ‘My apprentice, who is my faithful shadow, and I discuss and analyze the day's events.’
    3. 3.3British usually as modifier The opposition counterpart of a government minister or ministry.
      ‘the shadow Chancellor’
      • ‘The final blow came when no fewer than seven of his shadow cabinet colleagues admitted they had used cannabis.’
      • ‘He was elected to the shadow cabinet in 1988 and was spokesman on Home Affairs when John Smith died in 1994.’
      • ‘Howard lost the party's leadership to William Hague, who brought him back as shadow foreign minister, a role he held until 1999.’
      • ‘Each group drafted a ‘chapter’ as the basis of every shadow minister's policy.’
      • ‘Here the culture secretary defends her record, and shadow arts minister Hugo Swire and senior British archaeologists present an alternative view.’
      • ‘He stepped down as party leader and was replaced by the shadow chancellor John Smith, who pushed for reform in the structure of Labour Party relations with the unions.’
      • ‘The parties might cooperate on policy and parliamentary tactics, and there would almost certainly be a place in the shadow cabinet for Trimble.’
      • ‘And what of Walter Long, a bellwether of the shadow cabinet?’
      • ‘Thus, at common law the requirements for piercing the veil seem even more demanding than the statutory definition of a shadow director.’
      • ‘No wonder he landed the post of shadow arts minister, albeit briefly.’
      • ‘The shadow leader of the House of Commons, Eric Forth, claimed that the proposals were a great disappointment.’
      • ‘The changes that he inaugurated relied upon him having considerable control over his shadow cabinet.’
      • ‘His uninspiring leadership and his lacklustre shadow cabinet failed to make any initial impact on the electorate.’
      • ‘A shadow cabinet meeting was convened, and a manifesto drafted which reflected many of the key aims of the left.’
      • ‘Next weekend, we will hold the fourth annual joint meeting of the four operating shadow committees in Washington.’
      • ‘When Labour took control, she served a number of positions in Edward Heath's shadow cabinet.’
  • 4

    short for eyeshadow
    • ‘An eye-shadow brush made of sable is the best brush for cream or powder shadows.’
    • ‘Outlining the entire eye with a smoky shadow or muted eye pencil and adding lash-plumping mascara lends immediate impact.’
    • ‘Simply roll the powder shadow on - no applicator brush necessary.’
    • ‘Lengthening and thickening mascaras, shimmery lip glosses and shadows often take away the attention of the cheeks.’
    • ‘My face was whitened with powder and my golden-brown eyelashes were black to match the carefully applied eyeliner and shadows.’


[with object]
  • 1Envelop in shadow; cast a shadow over.

    ‘the market is shadowed by St Margaret's church’
    ‘a hood shadowed her face’
    • ‘She had her hood up, shadowing her face once again, but the cloak couldn't cover her sensible attire - in fact, the same attire she always wore - since she was riding.’
    • ‘Sterling pulled down the beggar's hat so that it covered his ears and shadowed his upper face before he walked back the way he came.’
    • ‘The room was shadowed, shrouded in a curtain of darkness.’
    • ‘The streets of Okinawa were shadowed by the cloak of twilight and wrapped in a thin fog.’
    • ‘Drawing his sword, the young man turned to face a figure cloaked all in black, his face shadowed by his hood.’
    • ‘A tall dark being stood in the pouring rain, soaking black cloak pulled tight around a wiry figure against the cold, hood pulled up and shadowing a dark face.’
    • ‘He cast his gaze toward the window; the thick curtains shadowed it.’
    • ‘His hood still shadowed any semblance of a face, if he had even had one to begin with.’
    • ‘I just stared at her, a blank expression shadowing my face.’
    • ‘They were cloaked in deep black, their faces shadowed by hoods.’
    • ‘While out together, the town is shadowed by an eclipse, lending a quiet surrealism to the dramatic proceedings.’
    • ‘The umbrella was titled over the three figures, shadowing their faces.’
    • ‘The middle of the river, shadowed by clouds, must feel so big.’
    • ‘The bright, clear light in his paintings appears like an Arts and Crafts article of faith, casting aside the heavily shadowed tonalities of the Victorians.’
    • ‘Their faces were pale, but one did not know if they had eyes or ears, for they wore a hood that shadowed their faces.’
    • ‘His face stared into the murky sky, shadowed by the shield.’
    • ‘Even with it only approaching evening, the land was shadowed and black clouds threatened rain.’
    • ‘His mount sat quietly atop a leather bound saddle, the cloak sagging, shadowing anything in its impenetrable layer of threads, and reaching the ground slightly.’
    • ‘Her features were feminine, but a large cap sat on top of her head, covering her hair and shadowed her face.’
    • ‘She walked in and sat at the bar, keeping her hood up so it shadowed her face.’
    overshadow, cast a shadow over, envelop in shadow, shade, block off the light to
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  • 2Follow and observe (someone) closely and secretly.

    ‘he had been up all night shadowing a team of poachers’
    • ‘The project involves shadowing each family member - husband, wife, and kids - for at least three full days.’
    • ‘Now I have a price on my head and a berserker killer shadowing me.’
    • ‘Steele's mission was to observe Tucker at close range, arriving as soon as he stepped out of the shower, then shadowing him until his workday ended at 10: 30 p.m.’
    • ‘He was in a new city, in a different province, a new school, new friends, and being the 1960s he was shadowed by the stigma of being raised by a single parent.’
    • ‘This fell upon deaf ears to the Secret Service, which quickly dispatched two agents to shadow the president.’
    • ‘The crazy thing about her was she didn't mind having her little brother shadowing her every move.’
    • ‘In my book, the strange, pale men shadowing Paul have several possible allegorical uses, but I decided early on not to push it.’
    • ‘There are a thousand other procedural union hassles - on some films, for example, the director is shadowed by a translator who repeats orders to the staff in French.’
    • ‘Shin was free to fly to east Berlin for location shots - though shadowed by ever-present escorts.’
    • ‘They've been shadowing us ever since that explosion in Boston!’
    • ‘He shadows her for days, weeks, months - and sends all data back to corporate headquarters for analysis.’
    • ‘He believed they were shadowing him, trying to learn the details of his departure.’
    • ‘On his days off, he scrutinises the children in the playground opposite his apartment and shadows a little girl through the local park.’
    • ‘But an ancient Egyptian cat shadows her and infuses life into her again.’
    • ‘Suspicion has shadowed him ever since he gave up the chairmanship of his family's supermarket chain and took his government post in 1998, collecting a peerage along the way.’
    • ‘I was shadowed last night by a couple of blacksuits.’
    • ‘The British ships could only hope to shadow her at ever-increasing distances, rather than pursue her.’
    • ‘‘If they are shadowing us,’ Garcia said, ‘they'll track us to the moon.’’
    • ‘Accompanied by the reluctant Alan, she begins shadowing him and tracing his movements.’
    • ‘Whoever their trailer was, he was both foolhardy and not very experienced at shadowing someone across a desert.’
    follow, trail, track, dog someone's footsteps, keep watch on
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    1. 2.1British (of an opposition politician) be the counterpart of (a government minister or a ministry)
      ‘he formerly helped to shadow the Foreign Office’
      • ‘Ever since the fall of the monarchy executive power had nominally been vested in a council of ministers, but each minister was shadowed by a specialist committee of the Convention.’
      • ‘In opposition, he gained experience of a variety of issues, first shadowing foreign affairs, then becoming Labour's Treasury spokesperson.’
    2. 2.2 Accompany (someone) in their daily activities at work in order to gain experience at or insight into a job.
      ‘the placement might involve shadowing a manager’
      • ‘Obviously, I don't shadow Chris all the time - the poor guy - [but] we talk often.’
      • ‘The applicant confirmed that she needed training and that shadowing a Court Manager was the correct course before a person goes into such a post.’
      • ‘Sheehan and a team of architects have spent months shadowing doctors, nurses, and patients at Northwest as they plan a new emergency room and inpatient wing.’


  • be frightened of one's shadow

    • Be very timid or nervous.

      • ‘They always were portrayed in movies as being frightened of their shadow and that is the way they came across in real life.’
  • cast a shadow on (or over)

    • Spoil or diminish (something)

      ‘the controversy continues to cast a shadow on her career’
      • ‘Sibling rivalries can cast a shadow on adulthood relationships within families, marriages, even work.’
      • ‘Her death cast a shadow over the referendum.’
      • ‘An injury to the England striker cast a shadow over the game.’
      • ‘The announcement of a nuclear test cast a shadow on his nomination.’
      • ‘The damage from these wars will continue to cast a shadow on these societies for generations.’
  • wear oneself to a shadow

    • Completely exhaust oneself through overwork.


Old English scead(u)we (noun), oblique case of sceadu (see shade), sceadwian ‘screen or shield from attack’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schaduw and German Schatten (nouns), from an Indo-European root shared by Greek skotos ‘darkness’.