Definition of shade in US English:



  • 1Comparative darkness and coolness caused by shelter from direct sunlight.

    ‘sitting in the shade’
    ‘this area will be in shade for much of the day’
    • ‘Throughout the day, people line up in this narrow band of shade.’
    • ‘Little shade covered this area of Arizona except for shadows cast by tall cacti.’
    • ‘If they are growing in shade, you might move them to a sunnier location.’
    • ‘Hydrangeas thrive in morning sun and afternoon shade, part shade or even bright shade.’
    • ‘The back veranda was thankfully covered and in shade, with wide padded benches.’
    • ‘But in addition to light, there are other factors to consider when gardening in shade.’
    • ‘We can raise our own and plant them out in shade, even if we only have a tree or two to our name.’
    • ‘We stand in shade atop the palace and take in the image.’
    • ‘In the reworking of the building, the new volumes provide shade and shelter in the otherwise roofless space.’
    • ‘The surface provides shade, seating, cabanas for changing clothing, and platforms for dancing.’
    • ‘The road turned again and rose up onto a knoll cast deep in shade, a place even farther removed from countryside and daylight than the rest of the woods.’
    • ‘In coastal climates, coleus thrive in shade or sun, but pinks and other vivid shades become more intense in brighter light.’
    • ‘The tree can live up to 70 years and enjoys sunlight or partial shade.’
    • ‘Where the vines have marked vigour, the bunches which hang below the leafy canopy are in shade, with predictable negative effects on wine quality.’
    • ‘It is one of the few culinary herbs to flourish in shade and part shade.’
    • ‘Any plants you choose, then, should be labeled for partial shade, not full shade.’
    • ‘The water glistened, half in shade, half in sun, sparkled as it caught the light.’
    • ‘She sat on the park bench that was overlapped in shade from the maple tree.’
    • ‘It can grow almost anywhere - from lawns to forested areas, in direct sun or in shade, he says.’
    • ‘Another way is to provide shade or shelter for the animal, but this can be expensive.’
    shadow, shadiness, shadows
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    1. 1.1 The darker part of a picture.
    2. 1.2 A position of relative inferiority or obscurity.
      ‘her elegant pink and black ensemble would put most outfits in the shade’
      surpass, outshine, outclass, overshadow, eclipse, exceed, excel, transcend, cap, top, outstrip, outdo, put to shame, make look pale by comparison, be better than, beat, outplay, outperform, upstage, dwarf
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    3. 1.3usually shadesliterary A shadow or area of darkness.
      ‘the shades of evening drew on’
      darkness, gathering darkness, dimness, dusk, semi-darkness, twilight
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    4. 1.4historical A portrait in silhouette.
  • 2A color, especially with regard to how light or dark it is or as distinguished from one nearly like it.

    ‘various shades of blue’
    ‘Maria's eyes darkened in shade’
    • ‘He never really thought that a woman could look so amazing in plain cotton pants and a grape purple cotton shirt, but the deep color brought out the sparkling shades of her eyes and the lightness of her hair.’
    • ‘It was an unique shade of dark blue, so intense that it appeared black.’
    • ‘In coastal climates, coleus thrive in shade or sun, but pinks and other vivid shades become more intense in brighter light.’
    • ‘The remnants of day were displayed across the sky in spectacular shades of gold and rust, crimson and violet.’
    • ‘It had small glitters all over it and faded from darker and lighter shades of pink.’
    • ‘Her eyes were a light shade of blue, dominating her pale face.’
    • ‘It was a light sky blue, a shade so light that it was nearly white.’
    • ‘Variegated leaves may include a combination of lighter and darker shades of color in the leaf.’
    • ‘Start with a color you like and select other items in lighter and darker shades.’
    • ‘Her hair cascaded and spilled over her pale shoulders, its colour more of a deep golden brown than the auburn shade he had seen from the stage.’
    • ‘The contrasting shades of his eyes reflected the multiple colors of oranges and reds briefly as he turned away from the festivities.’
    • ‘Well, the blankets are a medium blue, shot with lighter and darker shades that create a plaid tartan.’
    • ‘He looked like a fish on water, not to mention ten shades paler.’
    • ‘It was blue, and her eyes were a lighter shade of the same blue.’
    • ‘There are dark shades and lighter hues folding into each other.’
    • ‘The work is painted in two shades of light blue - darker above and paler below.’
    • ‘Furthermore, both dark and light shades of gray are great colors to choose from.’
    • ‘From the darkest shade of blue, to its lightest, it turned green, sometimes, even violet, and, very rarely, into honey, black or even grey.’
    • ‘The clouds consisted of many shades of light and dark grey.’
    • ‘I slowly looked over at Donovan and smiled, the smile lighting up my face and the moonlight turning my eyes a darker shade of blue.’
    colour, hue
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    1. 2.1Art A slight degree of difference between colors.
      • ‘Only the red allows for variation, and von der Ahe pushes it to shades ranging from a faint rusty tint to a deeply saturated red violet to a ruddy brown.’
      • ‘Particles in different shades, shapes and sizes are used as pigments to complement paint in what is essentially a painting.’
      • ‘Hao Boyi uses colors from vivid to pastel with many shades of brown.’
      • ‘Particular shades of the same color were named differently.’
      • ‘Sheila, for example, is in shades of peach while Agreyable uses gradations of gray.’
    2. 2.2 A slightly differing variety of something.
      ‘politicians of all shades of opinion’
      • ‘Just as you can count on different shades and degrees of ‘hispanicity’ so can you expect gradations in humor.’
      • ‘A major problem was the lack of shades and nuances.’
      • ‘Reality comes to us in all different types of shades and degrees.’
      • ‘The result was an unwieldy and complex organization of all social classes and all shades of unionist opinion.’
      • ‘They come in a variety of shades, lengths and styles.’
      • ‘The significance of such a model is in its ability to account for subtle shades of difference between musicians and audiences.’
      • ‘Perhaps this is inevitable in the development of a new concept involving shades of professional opinion and set against the background of scarce resources.’
      • ‘The large number of diacritics makes it possible to mark minute shades of sound as required for a narrow phonetic transcription.’
      • ‘Thus, this festival brings together the richness of the Indian kitchen with its spices and subtle shades of taste and texture.’
      • ‘Or the subtle shades of difference that demarcate the use of nine white pigments.’
      • ‘But, if I make an effort, I sense in my duration a variety of shades.’
      • ‘The subtle shade of meaning can no doubt be explained by the degree of faithfulness of the pictures in question with regard to the originals.’
      • ‘Though all his films are in Bengali or Hindi, their subtly observed study of multitudinous shades of the human condition ranks them as universal in their appeal and acclaim.’
      • ‘McNarry is to meet various shades of party opinion, take soundings and report to Trimble when he returns.’
      • ‘It is a pervasive mode of thought and is likely to show up in all sorts of places and be associated with most shades of opinion.’
      • ‘Of course, there may be various shades and degrees to which litigation may appear fabricated.’
      • ‘The drama of Chess, for them, must consist of the alternation of very delicate shades of positional advantage.’
      • ‘This pronouncement united all shades of clerical opinion.’
      • ‘Burbling keyboards and tasteful strings add some different colours and shades to her sonic palette.’
      • ‘There is a voluminous literature on the White Paper, which contains all shades of opinion.’
      nuance, gradation, modulation, shading, degree, difference, variation, variety
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    3. 2.3in singular A slight amount of something.
      ‘there is a shade of wistfulness in his rejection’
      • ‘The shortest piece on The Boys clocks in at a mere three minutes and fifteen seconds (although three tracks do stretch to a shade over ten minutes).’
      • ‘I can turn from a shade of my former self to the book you hold in your hand.’
      • ‘For the first time, a shade of uncertainty entered her voice.’
      • ‘‘Going nowhere fast’ they are, like Vladimir and Estregon in Waiting For Godot, with shades of the crossfire between Lucky Eric and Judd in Bouncers and Alas Smith & Jones too.’
      • ‘It also helped that the part is a good one with shades of the role made famous by Alec Guinness.’
      • ‘He knows the world, yet manages to keep a shade of innocence within.’
      • ‘There was a shade of meanness in her speech, and she spoke it so emphatically that for a moment he was not sure if she was telling the truth.’
      • ‘Afterall, there was a shade of reassurance in the predictable, however dire that certain predictable may be.’
      • ‘But it certainly has shades of the tragedy of 1971.’
      • ‘Even the soulless Laise had had a shade of humanity to her.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, fans of the former can be forgiven a shade of disappointment at the shift in focus.’
      • ‘Emily looks at me with a shade of disappointment in her face and turns around pretending to be cleaning.’
      • ‘So ends the last of the two longer pieces, each a shade under 20 minutes in length.’
      • ‘I wanted to know, in disbelief, and with more than just a shade of annoyance.’
      • ‘But the hair styling students at the college who are also taking part in the extravaganza have been given a 1950's theme and their work is truly evocative, with shades of the heyday of Hollywood glamour.’
      a little, a bit, a trace, a touch, a dash, a modicum, a soupçon, a suspicion, a hint, a suggestion, a tinge, a smack
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  • 3A lampshade.

    • ‘Bring them a lamp and they could find a shade for it within minutes.’
    • ‘The hall was brightly lit with several lamps each with its own stained glass shade.’
    • ‘The living room was just as I remembered it, with a single lamp covered with a stained glass shade illuminating the entire room.’
    1. 3.1often shadesNorth American A screen or blind on a window.
      • ‘By then, you may read the news on thin, flexible screens that unroll like window shades.’
      • ‘The crimson light from the sunrise made it's way through the open shades of my window and flooded my room, completely imbuing my walls with a color beauteous enough to take the breath away of anyone.’
      • ‘Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.’
      • ‘She shook her head as she approached the window and drew the shades.’
      • ‘Interior window shades and blinds do absolutely nothing to prevent unwanted heat from penetrating your windows.’
      • ‘To its left was a grand window, shades drawn closed for obvious purposes.’
      • ‘Exterior shades are generally more effective than interior shades because they block sunlight before it enters windows.’
      • ‘The window shades were drawn, and the room's only ambience came from a few candles scattered around the room.’
      • ‘Install drapes, shades, blinds or another window covering.’
      • ‘Back then, he sold custom picture framing, table pads, venetian blinds, window shades and did glass installations.’
      • ‘The most important basic consideration for shades and blinds is proper measuring of the window.’
      • ‘The safety of blinds and shades has been addressed by a number of companies.’
      • ‘He watched her with concern for a time, sighing inside as he saw the walls slide down around her, her eyes guarded, as if she had drawn the shades on the windows of her soul.’
      • ‘If a warm room is flanked by large windows, consider putting shades on the windows or awnings on the outside of the windows.’
      • ‘Without shades to cover the windows, it shone through almost as if it was a spotlight.’
      • ‘It would be worth your time to go into a window treatment or decorating store where blinds and shades are sold.’
      • ‘Greg walked over to the window and opened the shades.’
      • ‘Keep window blinds and shades closed during hot weather to conserve energy, and open on sunny days during cold months to allow in solar heat.’
      • ‘Are the windows that are not covered with draperies, shades, or blinds offering insulative value?’
      • ‘And pull shades or close blinds on windows facing the direct sun during daylight hours.’
      blind, curtain, venetian blind
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    2. 3.2 An eyeshade.
    3. 3.3shadesinformal Sunglasses.
      • ‘In some scenes, Depp's white, polyester leisure suits and humongous gold-rimmed shades are so hilarious that it is hard to take him seriously.’
      • ‘Another effective way to prevent your whole body from heating up is to wear a hat and shades when exposed to the sun for long periods of time.’
      • ‘Jones, for his part, looked the part, dressed in a black leather jacket and black shades, and he opted for a business-like approach to his craft.’
      • ‘He had sported large, sturdy-looking reading glasses because, as a pilot who wore aviator shades, he was used to them.’
      • ‘He's wearing shades, a white no-sleeved shirt, brown pants, and a leather jacket.’
      • ‘He then removed the large shades and the trench coat - revealing a tight, sleeveless shirt, and baggy pants.’
      • ‘When I met Laure in a hotel bar, she wore a forest green sweater, shades and percolated with the sensual energy familiar from all her past movies.’
      • ‘A huge tip off is if it's night time and he's wearing shades.’
      • ‘In all we got six or seven outfits, three pairs of shades, the wine colored hat, four neck scarves and this really cool jet-black purse.’
      • ‘Wearing shades will help prevent particles getting into your eyes.’
      • ‘I dress stylishly, wear shades, have a cross hanging around my neck and am quite intellectual.’
      • ‘He wore shades, a leather jacket, khaki dockers, with tan loafers.’
      • ‘Me, I'm wearing a total Leather Tuscadero outfit and '70s shades.’
      • ‘He was wearing shades and a cap, which prevented either of us from knowing his identity.’
      • ‘Then she saw a man dressed in black, a black suit, black shoes, and black shades.’
      • ‘The boy poses for the camera, fingers in pockets of tight white pants, no shirt, leather jacket, tilted cap, shades, cool.’
      • ‘The person who was wearing the shades and the trench coat was fighting against a platinum blonde girl.’
      • ‘The minister wore a dashing cream-coloured suit and shades.’
      • ‘Clown was sitting in the chair, again wearing his shades and a hat that seemed to look like a bucket on his head.’
      • ‘I think she suspects that I'm looking at her, but she can't be sure; I'm wearing shades.’
      sunglasses, dark glasses
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  • 4literary A ghost.

    • ‘In Bayadere, the physical effort rather than the evocation of a fantastical image dominated, so that the entrance of the Shades felt more militaristic than shadowy.’
    • ‘Think of ‘after the poem’ as a consequence of reading, a further poem made necessary and delightful ‘because of it,’ alive by means which mean to continue and never to return Eurydice to the hateful Shades.’
    • ‘As opera matured over the next 150 years, the dramatic duties that at first had been assigned to mere Shades and Furies were taken over by full-fledged gods and goddesses.’
    • ‘The bull swam with her out to sea, some say across the Pillars of Hercules to the shore of Southern Spain, others to Crete, where later she gave birth to Minos and Rhadamanthus, ruler of Elysium where the Shades go after death.’
    • ‘I can feel the shades of my forebears crowding before me, waving their spectral hands at me and admonishing me to go no further.’
    ghost, spectre, phantom, apparition, spirit, wraith, phantasm, shadow
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    1. 4.1the Shades The underworld; Hades.
      • ‘I will bring your mother, the Queen of Ranoak, back from the land of Shades, if you be my slave.’


[with object]
  • 1Screen from direct light.

    ‘she shaded her eyes against the sun’
    • ‘We were standing under a white cloth tent used to shade the paintings that were laid out on the tables and to keep the wind and leaves off them.’
    • ‘The courtyard was shaded on all sides by trees and tall walls.’
    • ‘It was dim, the high trees shading the light from above.’
    • ‘He laid out the Botanic gardens in Khartoum, as he did at Luxor, in Upper Egypt; and he imported the Neem trees from India to shade the streets.’
    • ‘To my left was the big pine shading that store, and just to my right was another huge evergreen tree, a Ficus retusa, the Indian Laurel Fig.’
    • ‘I have four large oleanders planted on the north side of my house; they are partially shaded by a large tree.’
    • ‘The main focus is a line of shacks shaded by crumpled metal roofs.’
    • ‘There was a weeping willow shading two lonely gravestones, alienated from all the others.’
    • ‘Riparian forest buffers also stabilize streambanks and provide shaded areas for aquatic habitat.’
    • ‘At last they came to a blue lake, and by the side of it, shaded by trees of the deepest green, stood a palace of dazzling white marble, built in the olden times.’
    • ‘Finally, most fish seek shaded, darkened areas during hot, sunny days.’
    • ‘The viewing screen can be shaded to an extent from the sun or other directional light sources, by means of baffles, but the basic problem remains.’
    • ‘She passed the handheld to Dolores, who examined the screen, shading it from the sun's glare.’
    • ‘Water plants deeply once a week as weather heats up, and surround them with liberal amounts of mulch to shade the soil and add organic matter.’
    • ‘A giant live oak tree shaded the west side of the house, a long-abandoned tire swing hanging dejectedly from a sturdy branch.’
    • ‘The plant is very effective at shading out weeds so doesn't require herbicides.’
    • ‘Corn also helps by getting taller then the soybeans and shading out the weeds.’
    • ‘Provide a sufficient overhang and the same spaces will be shaded in the summer, which will lower your cooling bill.’
    • ‘By shading the block walls, the polyurethane mesh helps to regulate the building's internal temperature and in stormy weather gives added protection to the construction beneath.’
    • ‘Landscaping is a natural and beautiful way to shade your home and block the sun.’
    cast a shadow over, shadow, shut out the light from, block off the light to
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    1. 1.1 Cover, moderate, or exclude the light of.
      ‘he shaded the flashlight with his hand’
      • ‘Clouds covered the sun, a respectful veil shading the sun's merry rays.’
      • ‘The orange canopy shaded some of the harsh glare from the sun, allowing her to pull her hood away from her face so she could inspect the fruit more carefully.’
      • ‘The sun was shaded by a few clouds, but ever now and then it would peek out from beneath them, bringing a warm beam down to the group.’
      • ‘He walked towards it on soft feet shading the torch with his hand to reduce its light to a narrow thread.’
      • ‘But all the greenery shaded the light, casting shadows and filling the forest with deep darkness.’
  • 2Darken or color (an illustration or diagram) with parallel pencil lines or a block of color.

    ‘she shaded in the outline of a chimney’
    • ‘Unlike the Spyglass's sky-colored outer hull, this ship was shaded in a dark gray mixed in with a small amount of chestnut.’
    • ‘Many of the graphs omit units, have one or two shaded areas which are presumably meant to show something but are not elucidated in the text or caption, or seem to me not to show the pattern they are claimed to show.’
    • ‘Underneath two arched eyebrows, her eyes were large and brown, shaped like two walnuts and looked as though they were shaded in with a pencil.’
    • ‘The sky seemed to look passively onward, black and dark like my pencil that had shaded it in.’
    • ‘Risking a glance at his hands all he saw before him was shaded in blue.’
    • ‘Though the outline of the iris was shaded in green, the rest of it was a bright amber, giving him an almost wolfish appearance.’
    • ‘Then I shaded in the different areas where the different species lived.’
    • ‘I frowned and shaded in an area quickly, then stirred a dry paintbrush inside an empty jar.’
    • ‘These are not flat, but shaded in a way that gives them a certain three dimensionally.’
    • ‘She sketched the lines of his cheekbones and carefully shaded in the delicate curve of his upper lip.’
    • ‘Exquisitely shaded pencil drawings are the basis for this slow, patient drift through a surrealist landscape that is at once impossible and alarmingly familiar.’
    • ‘I looked up from shading the line of her cheek, surprised.’
    • ‘They depict the Madonna and Child, saints, and angels painted in a strong, black outline style, with the details of drapery and facial features shaded in yellow and red earth colours.’
    • ‘The clarity of the screen was perfect and although the image was shaded, it could still be identified without scepticism.’
    • ‘The characters are nicely shaded in contrast to the backgrounds and have a glowing soft look about them that immediately endears the game to the gamer.’
    • ‘I used my grey pencil to highlight the outlines of the buildings and I shaded in where the sun hadn't reached yet.’
    • ‘He draws two olives above the horizontal line, and shades everything but the pimentos.’
    • ‘A triangle adorned the map and the space within the triangle was shaded in red signifying the area that they would be searching.’
    • ‘This was serious stuff - if the targets were killed they were crossed off the list, while those wounded were shaded in grey.’
    • ‘My favourite is Appleby's quiet, almost pastel shaded image of a potter at work.’
    darken, colour in, pencil in, block in, fill in
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    1. 2.1no object, with adverbial (of a color or something colored) gradually change into another color.
      ‘the sky shaded from turquoise to night blue’
      • ‘Yet observers had cause to wonder last year whether Tivoli's purple might be shading into blue.’
      • ‘From the front of the St. Petersburg Hotel the sky shaded from pale grey to gold, orange and deep red.’
      • ‘Its colour, blue-green above, shading to silver below, is typical of its family.’
      • ‘The sun was bright in a sky already shading into a cooler, breezier blue, and the trees surrounding the compound glowed with the first, bright brush strokes of fall.’
      • ‘Its hood was thrown back and despite the cold, its jacket was open to about mid-chest, revealing a dense coat of steel gray fur, shading to white in the center of its chest.’
      change gradually, transmute, turn, go, become
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  • 3Make a slight reduction in the amount, rate, or price of.

    ‘banks may shade the margin over base rate they charge customers’
    • ‘Rear leg room is shaded by one or two competitors, but there is no feeling of being cramped.’
    • ‘Of the two Tain Houses, Jaboulet's Cotes du Rhone shades the Chapoutier effort with more of a pepper and savoury green olive flavour.’
    • ‘My administration will do everything in its power to end the days of cooking the books and shading the truth and breaking our laws.’
    • ‘However, the Audi shades it here as it has the all-around package.’
    • ‘We'll no longer be willing to be patient with people who claim that they weren't really lying but were simply shading the truth.’


  • a shade —

    • A little —

      ‘he was a shade hung over’
      • ‘My only big complaint was that something must have gone wrong with the timing, as while my friends' dishes were piping hot, mine was a shade lukewarm.’
      • ‘With the game getting a shade tetchy in spots, it was perhaps no great surprise that referee Monaghan decided to impose the ultimate sanction on the unfortunate Ryan with all of 19 minutes left on the clock.’
      • ‘In that regard, the visitors were clearly superior and were a shade unlucky not to have hauled themselves back into contention after falling in arrears.’
      • ‘The Holland group's taut interlocks and quick, nervous counterpoint become a shade tiresome.’
      • ‘As privileged guests settle into their seats today at Hampshire's cradle of cricket, they could be forgiven for looking a shade smug.’
      • ‘The only trouble is that his enthusiasm has slightly outpaced systematism; the corpus of the work is a shade difficult to comprehend in terms of logistics.’
      • ‘It was a shade less than the champions deserved.’
      • ‘When Mr Blair made his comments back in April I said I thought he was being a shade over-optimistic.’
      • ‘‘We were a shade fortunate to win it,’ admitted Rains.’
      • ‘His eyes turn a shade moist when he thinks of things back home.’
  • shades of —

    • Used to suggest reminiscence of or comparison with someone or something specified.

      ‘a long, drawn-out orchestral climax (shades of Wagner or Strauss)’
      • ‘The $3 billion cock-up - shades of the BNZ bailout?’
      echoes, a reminder, memories, intimations, suggestions, hints
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  • throw shade

    • informal Publicly criticize or express contempt for someone.

      ‘if she was really so above it all, she wouldn't have to throw shade’
      ‘they weren't the only people who threw shade at her performance’
      • ‘Throw shade on her and it just bounces off back onto you with karmic precision.’
      • ‘She has a lot of nerve, throwing shade at the nation's most beloved feminist actresses.’
      • ‘Fight fans have gotten used to fighters' throwing shade at one another in the lead-up to their scraps, and the trash talk generally follows the same formula.’
      • ‘It has always struck me as funny when people throw shade at entertainers because they have money and can afford things that others can't.’
      • ‘She threw shade at everyone from Oscar Wilde to the entire English upper class.’
      • ‘His publicist has since clarified the quotes, insisting the actor wasn't trying to throw shade at the 39-year-old star.’
      • ‘She also knows how to throw shade in the classiest of ways!’
      • ‘He recently threw shade at his ex and questioned whether she's fit to be a mom.’
      • ‘In addition to being good performers and entertainers, drag queens have to be funny, and throwing shade is a huge part of that.’


Old English sc(e)adu, of Germanic origin. Compare with shadow.