dark shape1 [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 surfaceThe 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
darkness2 [uncountable] also shadows [plural] darkness in a place or on something, especially so that you cannot easily see who or what is thereHis face was lost in shadow, turned away from her.I thought I saw a figure standing in the shadows.
small amount3 [singular] shadow of something a very small amount of something synonym hintA shadow of a smile touched his mouth.She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt (= with no doubt at all) that he was lying.
influence4 [singular] shadow of someone/something the strong (usually bad) influence of someone or somethingThe new leader wants to escape from the shadow of his predecessor.These people have been living for years under the shadow of fear.
under eyes5 shadows [plural] dark areas under someone's eyes, because they are tired, etc.She looked pale, with deep shadows under her eyes.
someone that follows someone6 [countable] a person or an animal that follows someone else all the time
see also eyeshadow, five o'clock shadowIDIOMS
something not real7 [countable] a thing that is not real or possible to obtainYou can't spend all your life chasing shadows.
be afraid/scared of your own shadow
to be very easily frightened; to be very nervousbe afraid of your own shadowbe scared of your own shadow
be a shadow/ghost of your former self
to not have the strength, influence, etc. that you used to haveWhen his career ended, he became a shadow of his former self.be a shadow of your former selfbe a ghost of your former self
Usage note: shade shadowShade [U] is an area or a part of a place that is protected from the heat of the sun and so is darker and cooler: Let’s sit in the shade for a while.A shadow [C] is the dark shape made when a light shines on a person or an object: As the sun went down, we cast long shadows on the lawn.Shadow [U] is an area of darkness in which it is difficult to distinguish things easily: Her face was lost in shadow.