shadow

A shadow is a dark shape that is formed when an object blocks a source of light. On a sunny day, practically everything casts a shadow — including you. Shadow can also act as an action, like when you shadow, or follow, someone on the first day at a new job.

Depending on its use, shadow can have negative or positive connotations. Children often play with their shadows and think of their shadows as constant companions, like in the song lyric "just me and my shadow." On the other hand, you could be such a wimp that you fear your own shadow or at least fear what lurks in the shadows. Used as a verb, a spy could shadow you without your knowledge. Or, your faithful dog might shadow you as you pace around the house. You might be sick and tired of living in the shadow of your older sister who always seems to be the center of attention — blocking you from the spotlight.

Definitions of shadow
  1. noun
    a dark shape created by an object blocking a source of light
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    types:
    umbra
    a region of complete shadow resulting from total obstruction of light
    penumbra
    a fringe region of partial shadow around an umbra
    type of:
    shade, shadiness, shadowiness
    relative darkness caused by light rays being intercepted by an opaque body
  2. noun
    an unilluminated area
    synonyms: dark, darkness
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    type of:
    scene
    the place where some action occurs
  3. verb
    cast a darkness over
    synonyms: shade, shade off
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    type of:
    darken
    make dark or darker
  4. noun
    something existing in perception only
    synonyms: apparition, fantasm, phantasm, phantasma, phantom
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    types:
    UFO, flying saucer, unidentified flying object
    an (apparently) flying object whose nature is unknown; especially those considered to have extraterrestrial origins
    Flying Dutchman
    a phantom ship that is said to appear in storms near the Cape of Good Hope
    ghost, shade, specter, spectre, spook, wraith
    a mental representation of some haunting experience
    type of:
    illusion, semblance
    an erroneous mental representation
  5. noun
    a dominating and pervasive presence
    “he received little recognition working in the shadow of his father”
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    type of:
    presence
    the state of being present; current existence
  6. noun
    refuge from danger or observation
    “he felt secure in his father's shadow
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    type of:
    recourse, refuge, resort
    something or someone turned to for assistance or security
  7. noun
    an indication that something has been present
    synonyms: tincture, trace, vestige
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    types:
    footprint
    a trace suggesting that something was once present or felt or otherwise important
    type of:
    indicant, indication
    something that serves to indicate or suggest
  8. noun
    a premonition of something adverse
    “a shadow over his happiness”
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    type of:
    boding, foreboding, premonition, presentiment
    a feeling of evil to come
  9. verb
    make appear small by comparison
    synonyms: dwarf, overshadow
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    type of:
    command, dominate, overlook, overtop
    look down on
  10. noun
    a spy employed to follow someone and report their movements
    synonyms: shadower, tail
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    type of:
    follower
    someone who travels behind or pursues another
    spy
    a secret watcher; someone who secretly watches other people
  11. noun
    an inseparable companion
    “the poor child was his mother's shadow
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    type of:
    follower
    someone who travels behind or pursues another
  12. verb
    follow, usually without the person's knowledge
    “The police are shadowing her”
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    type of:
    follow
    to travel behind, go after, come after
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