American English

Definition of shadow noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    dark shape
  1. 1[countable] the dark shape that someone or something's form makes on a surface, for example on the ground, when they or it are between the light and the surface The children were having fun, chasing each other's shadows. The ship's sail cast a shadow on the water. The shadows lengthened as the sun went down. (figurative) He didn't want to cast a shadow on (= spoil) their happiness. note at shade
  2. darkness
  3. 2[uncountable] shadows [plural] darkness in a place or on something, especially so that you cannot easily see who or what is there His face was lost in shadow, turned away from her. I thought I saw a figure standing in the shadows.
  4. small amount
  5. 3[singular] shadow of something a very small amount of something synonym hint A shadow of a smile touched his mouth. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt (= with no doubt at all) that he was lying.
  6. influence
  7. 4[singular] shadow of somebody/something the strong (usually bad) influence of someone or something The new leader wants to escape from the shadow of his predecessor. These people have been living for years under the shadow of fear.
  8. under eyes
  9. 5shadows [plural] dark areas under someone's eyes, because they are tired, etc. She looked pale, with deep shadows under her eyes.
  10. someone that follows someone
  11. 6[countable] a person or an animal that follows someone else all the time
  12. something not real
  13. 7[countable] a thing that is not real or possible to obtain You can't spend all your life chasing shadows. see also eyeshadow, five o'clock shadow
  14. Idioms
    be afraid/scared of your own shadow
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    to be very easily frightened; to be very nervous
    be a shadow/ghost of your former self
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    to not have the strength, influence, etc. that you used to have When his career ended, he became a shadow of his former self.
      in/under the shadow of
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    1. 1very close to The new market is in the shadow of City Hall.
    2. 2when you say that someone is in/under the shadow of another person, you mean that they do not receive as much attention as that person A younger son often lives in the shadow of his elder brother.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: shadow