Meaning of shadow in English:


Pronunciation /ˈʃadəʊ/

See synonyms for shadow

Translate shadow into Spanish


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

    ‘trees cast long shadows’
    • ‘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 Peledrim Forest itself looked sinister and forbidding, and the trees cast long shadows in the dim light of the setting sun.’
    • ‘She was walking quite fast and her tiny slim body gave a vague shadow in the street lights.’
    • ‘A light periodically shone through the cutout shape, casting a shadow onto the glass that resembled a tower.’
    • ‘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 glow still present, the figure turned, revolving, and the dim light cast a monstrous shadow of it on the trunk of a tree nearby.’
    • ‘Light penetrates these holes and casts thin shadows across the print surface.’
    • ‘Its multicolored lights cast different shadows on the living room floor.’
    • ‘The extra light cast eerie shadows on the glistening metal walls, not helping the sick feeling in her stomach.’
    • ‘Instead, the light cast shadows around him, encircling him passively.’
    • ‘The light diode was casting shadows though a cracked door to the bedroom.’
    • ‘Their bodies cast large shadows on the black pavement, and it appeared as the shadow was one large person.’
    • ‘Silently he observed them from the shadows of the forest's trees.’
    • ‘The sand felt gritty beneath her toes as she saw the dark shadow standing, watching the waves go out.’
    • ‘The dark shadows crept across the ground, the swirling surface trembling at their presence.’
    • ‘The silent roadway looked like a long riband of polished silver, flecked here and there by the dark arabesques of waving shadows.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘One of the dark shadows moved and slowly came towards her.’
    silhouette, outline, shape, contour, profile
    View synonyms
    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 Axis told her it would be better to blend in with, shadow on shadow, darkness on black.’
      • ‘Anonymous figures emerge from deep shadow, often the striped shadows of the tracks.’
      • ‘Remember: not all that walks in shadow is darkness.’
      • ‘Instead of explosions, we find delicately crafted compositions of shadow and darkness.’
      • ‘The door closed softly but firmly behind her, shrouding the room in darkness and deep shadows.’
      • ‘The moody landscapes with splashes of garish neon, the darkness and shadow - all that translates very well from the console.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She walked over to the corner behind Leon, where she was partially hidden in shadow, and began looking at the floor.’
      • ‘He pointed to where the hills began to grow into baby-mountains, a place already deep in shadow.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She broke the kiss to look deeply in her lover's eyes and found them the color of deep shadow.’
      • ‘A third figure is in deep shadow, but we can make out a dark purple suit.’
      • ‘I stayed hidden in the shadows as I followed his small figure stealthily.’
      • ‘He didn't want to look suspicious to them so he stayed in the shadows to observe.’
      • ‘He often spied on her, watching from the shadows, observing her every gesture.’
      • ‘So you do have the atmosphere of secrecy, of secret activity, of heavily-built, faceless men observing from the shadows.’
      • ‘He let the larger trout stay in the shadows near the banks and fished the middle of the stream in journeyman fashion.’
      • ‘The entire world outside lay painted in dark blue shadows and pale moonlight and the snow muffled the land beneath it to absolute silence.’
      • ‘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.’
      shade, shadowiness, darkness, gathering darkness, dimness, semi-darkness, twilight
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    2. 1.2mass noun The shaded part of a picture.
      ‘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.’
      • ‘Lines are often bold and thick, and the tight, even hatching sometimes dissolves in to smooth gradations of shadow.’
      • ‘Flesh tones are accurate, and the few dark areas have detailed shadows.’
      • ‘My doodling ended up being dark shadows of unknown objects.’
    3. 1.3A dark patch or area on a surface.
      ‘her face was pale and there were shadows under her 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He was much too pale, except for the dark shadows beneath his eyes.’
      • ‘There were dark shadows beneath my eyes, the result of too many late nights, plus a combination of illicit drugs and alcohol.’
      • ‘Her eyes held dark shadows beneath them, and her shoulders stooped with exhaustion.’
      • ‘Then he saw the dark shadow beneath the water of something extremely large.’
      • ‘The other prisoners often screamed in their sleep, so he was rarely able to doze off, and dark shadows lay beneath his empty eyes.’
      • ‘His eyes seemed more sunken in and dark shadows lay beneath them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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, even darker than Charlie's, sat beneath his coal gray eyes and the red veins in his eyes had become shockingly apparent.’
      • ‘He did look awful; the shadows beneath his eyes were even darker this morning in contrast to the pallor of his face.’
      • ‘His hair still stuck up in odd places and the shadows beneath his eyes only seemed to have grown darker.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Beneath her eyes, he saw the dark shadows that copious tears had produced.’
      • ‘Mysterious shadows formed on the dark pillows on the couch.’
      • ‘She looked strained, with dark shadows under her lovely green eyes.’
      • ‘He laughed loudly and the dark shadows from his eyes disappeared.’
      • ‘Dark shadows under her large, heavily lashed eyes muted their color.’
      • ‘His hair was scattered over his forehead and ears, his mouth was loose, his eyes almost invisible in their dark shadows.’
    4. 1.4A 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’
    • ‘An ominous shadow hung over me, encasing my soul in darkness.’
    • ‘Now, the shadow of sadness had grown, and Anne began to grow lonely at night.’
    • ‘In the array of colors lay hidden shadows, unshed tears, and embers of a poetic fire he couldn't help but love.’
    • ‘Elaine gave him a slight smile but he could see the shadow of sadness in her eyes.’
    • ‘Human flesh appears cheap; expires through decay or a bullet; why bother ourselves about growing up in the shadows of war and exile?’
    • ‘The 1968 campaign had been divisive as it was fought in the shadow of the Vietnam War.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Uncertainty prevails in the shadows of the Iraq war and no one can predict the stock market.’
    • ‘Raised in Boston's industrial city of Lowell, Massachusetts, Bette Davis was born in the shadow of one war, and worked through the next.’
    • ‘The growing importance of families in the shadow of war had profound effects, too, on the discussion of women's rights.’
    • ‘The war did leave a shadow in my mind, but the thing I most feared had already happened.’
    • ‘She looked up from her book when two shadows fell over her.’
    • ‘For more than three years, they've mourned her loss and lived in the shadow of suspicion.’
    • ‘We've lived in the shadow of the seven-inch single for almost two decades now.’
    • ‘Any contribution that brings the life and thought of a woman out of the shadows of historical obscurity is a valuable contribution.’
    • ‘A group of rabbits had made their warren here years ago, and lived under the shadow of werewolves in relative safety.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Why has this area of law emerged from the shadows of obscurity?’
    • ‘But even within the memory of this splendid Olympics there still hangs the huge shadow of the use of performance enhancing substances.’
    cloud, black cloud, pall
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    1. 2.1Used 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. 2.2Used in reference to a position of relative inferiority or obscurity.
      ‘he lived in the shadow of his father’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was that damn Voltaire - his shadow obscured just about everyone else.’
      • ‘This series will continue to sink into obscurity, remaining where it belongs: in the shadow of much better giant robot series.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘He was a runt, a weakling brought up in the shadow of an accomplished elder brother who died of smallpox when Charles was 12.’
      • ‘For Plato, our senses are deceptive and what we experience in our daily lives is not reality but the shadow of reality.’
      • ‘They live their daily existence in the shadow of one of the busiest travel destinations in the world.’
      • ‘As the second sister, Regan often appears in the shadow of her older sister.’
      • ‘Christina grows up in the shadow of her older sister, whom everyone considers to be smarter, more creative, and more promising.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Each struggles with the idea of bringing their need for intimacy out of the shadows.’
    3. 2.3with negative The slightest trace of something.
      ‘she knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was lying’
      • ‘My favorite haunt in London, without a shadow of a doubt!’
      • ‘But suddenly, he knew without a shadow of a doubt who this woman was.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Without a shadow of a doubt in his mind, she was the girl for him.’
      • ‘Less than half way through the overture I know without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to be a professional oboist.’
      • ‘She had never admitted that she was an agent before, either, even though he knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Rebecca knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was compatible with Bryan.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘People who want to know the source of their fish without a shadow of a doubt might opt to catch it themselves.’
      • ‘It was the first time Shawn had felt it, and it would, without a shadow of a doubt, be the last time.’
      • ‘Well, the judge explained that what they're looking for here is somewhere between absolute certainty and just a shadow of a doubt.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There was never a shred, never a shadow of a doubt that she had anything to do with the disappearance of Michael and Alex.’
      • ‘He felt like he should know, beyond a shadow of a doubt.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Count is king of the keyboard, beyond a shadow of a doubt.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It seemed to him that Tanaki's eyes always hid a shadow of coldness.’
      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. 2.4A weak or inferior remnant or version of something.
      ‘this fine-looking, commanding man had become a shadow of his former self’
      • ‘That is to say, a facsimile, a carbon copy, a wisp of a ghost of a shadow of a bagel.’
      • ‘In memory only part of experiences are seen as they really were, while others fade into a shadow of themselves.’
      • ‘Wall Street and the City would be a shadow of themselves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For your brilliance is only a shadow of what is to come.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The smile was thin, only a pale shadow of what it used to be.’
      • ‘I am nothing more than a shadow of my old self, I am told.’
      • ‘But it is just a shadow of the bustling place it was from the 1860s through to 1907, when the leaders both died.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, this is only a shadow of the original, and fairly or not comes off as a cheap knock-off of a classic film.’
      • ‘As the days went by, his father's condition worsened until he became merely a shadow of the great, massive man he once was.’
      • ‘Yet he remains a shadow, following behind Buddha rather than being an independent person.’
      • ‘They are already merely a shadow of the company they were.’
      inferior version, poor imitation, apology, travesty
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    5. 2.5An expression of perplexity or sadness.
      ‘a shadow crossed Maria's face’
      • ‘Her expression suddenly changed as a shadow crossed.’
      • ‘She turned to look out at the street, and let the shadows swallow her expression.’
      • ‘She stopped herself when she thought she saw the tiniest hint of a shadow cross David's expectant face.’
      • ‘Neither of them noticed a shadow cross the stranger's face.’
      • ‘A grim shadow crossed his face, however, that quickly turned the grin to a frown.’
      • ‘Mel shook her head, a shadow crossing her face as she remembered about the sketch.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed his face, and he quickly changed the topic.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed Adam's face as Melissa compared him to Zachary.’
      • ‘A shadow seemed to cross over Billy's face and he looked down.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed her face at his words and Dmitri became serious again.’
      • ‘A shadow seemed to suddenly cross his devilish looks, and he avoided my eyes.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed Katherine's face as she saw Helena use Orion as a human shield.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed his features, covering them in a mixture of guilt and weariness.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed her face but disappeared behind her eyes as quickly as it had appeared.’
      • ‘A shadow seemed to cross both of the brother's faces as Damien sat down next to Morgan.’
      • ‘A shadow crossed over her face when she mentioned it, and it struck fear into my heart.’
      • ‘A shadow seemed to cross his face as his vivid blue eyes took on a faint look of regret.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Still, a shadow crosses Jack's resolutely clouded eyes as he detects a snag in the plan.’
      • ‘He had not caught the deadly shadow that had crossed her face just a moment ago.’
  • 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
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1A 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. 3.2A 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’
      • ‘No wonder he landed the post of shadow arts minister, albeit briefly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A shadow cabinet meeting was convened, and a manifesto drafted which reflected many of the key aims of the left.’
      • ‘The changes that he inaugurated relied upon him having considerable control over his shadow cabinet.’
      • ‘He was elected to the shadow cabinet in 1988 and was spokesman on Home Affairs when John Smith died in 1994.’
      • ‘His uninspiring leadership and his lacklustre shadow cabinet failed to make any initial impact on the electorate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When Labour took control, she served a number of positions in Edward Heath's shadow cabinet.’
      • ‘Thus, at common law the requirements for piercing the veil seem even more demanding than the statutory definition of a shadow director.’
      • ‘And what of Walter Long, a bellwether of the shadow cabinet?’
      • ‘The parties might cooperate on policy and parliamentary tactics, and there would almost certainly be a place in the shadow cabinet for Trimble.’
      • ‘The shadow leader of the House of Commons, Eric Forth, claimed that the proposals were a great disappointment.’
      • ‘Next weekend, we will hold the fourth annual joint meeting of the four operating shadow committees in Washington.’
      • ‘The final blow came when no fewer than seven of his shadow cabinet colleagues admitted they had used cannabis.’
      • ‘Howard lost the party's leadership to William Hague, who brought him back as shadow foreign minister, a role he held until 1999.’
  • 4

    short for eyeshadow

    ‘Lengthening and thickening mascaras, shimmery lip glosses and shadows often take away the attention of the cheeks.’
    • ‘Outlining the entire eye with a smoky shadow or muted eye pencil and adding lash-plumping mascara lends immediate impact.’
    • ‘An eye-shadow brush made of sable is the best brush for cream or powder shadows.’
    • ‘Simply roll the powder shadow on - no applicator brush necessary.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their faces were pale, but one did not know if they had eyes or ears, for they wore a hood that shadowed their faces.’
    • ‘She walked in and sat at the bar, keeping her hood up so it shadowed her face.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The middle of the river, shadowed by clouds, must feel so big.’
    • ‘While out together, the town is shadowed by an eclipse, lending a quiet surrealism to the dramatic proceedings.’
    • ‘Drawing his sword, the young man turned to face a figure cloaked all in black, his face shadowed by his hood.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The umbrella was titled over the three figures, shadowing their faces.’
    • ‘His face stared into the murky sky, shadowed by the shield.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her features were feminine, but a large cap sat on top of her head, covering her hair and shadowed her face.’
    • ‘The streets of Okinawa were shadowed by the cloak of twilight and wrapped in a thin fog.’
    • ‘They were cloaked in deep black, their faces shadowed by hoods.’
    • ‘The room was shadowed, shrouded in a curtain of darkness.’
    • ‘He cast his gaze toward the window; the thick curtains shadowed it.’
    • ‘Even with it only approaching evening, the land was shadowed and black clouds threatened rain.’
    overshadow, cast a shadow over, envelop in shadow, shade, block off the light to
    View synonyms
  • 2Follow and observe (someone) closely and secretly.

    ‘he had been up all night shadowing a team of poachers’
    • ‘I was shadowed last night by a couple of blacksuits.’
    • ‘‘If they are shadowing us,’ Garcia said, ‘they'll track us to the moon.’’
    • ‘The British ships could only hope to shadow her at ever-increasing distances, rather than pursue her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He shadows her for days, weeks, months - and sends all data back to corporate headquarters for analysis.’
    • ‘But an ancient Egyptian cat shadows her and infuses life into her again.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now I have a price on my head and a berserker killer shadowing me.’
    • ‘The crazy thing about her was she didn't mind having her little brother shadowing her every move.’
    • ‘They've been shadowing us ever since that explosion in Boston!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Whoever their trailer was, he was both foolhardy and not very experienced at shadowing someone across a desert.’
    • ‘The project involves shadowing each family member - husband, wife, and kids - for at least three full days.’
    • ‘Accompanied by the reluctant Alan, she begins shadowing him and tracing his movements.’
    • ‘Shin was free to fly to east Berlin for location shots - though shadowed by ever-present escorts.’
    follow, trail, track, dog someone's footsteps, keep watch on
    View synonyms
    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. 2.2Accompany (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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Obviously, I don't shadow Chris all the time - the poor guy - [but] we talk often.’


    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 over
    • Cause (something) to be less good or enjoyable.

      ‘his unexpected death cast a shadow over the event’
      • ‘the controversy continues to cast a shadow on her career’
      • ‘Sibling rivalries can cast a shadow on adulthood relationships within families, marriages, even work.’
      • ‘The announcement of a nuclear test cast a shadow on his nomination.’
      • ‘An injury to the England striker cast a shadow over the game.’
      • ‘Her death cast a shadow over the referendum.’
      • ‘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’.