Shelter is one of the basic human needs along with food, water, and companionship. It is a structure that protects you from the elements and gives you a place to live.

If you get lost in the woods during a rain storm, the first thing you should do is seek shelter, or a protected place to stay. A shelter is also a place to go for help, e.g. a homeless shelter is for those with nowhere to sleep, a bomb shelter protects people in a war zone and an animal shelter houses dogs and cats without a home. You've probably heard people talking about tax shelters, which are investments that protect your money from being taxed by the government.

Definitions of shelter
  1. noun
    protective covering that provides protection from the weather
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    bell cot, bell cote
    a small shelter for bells; has a gable or shed roof
    a shelter for birds
    a covering (usually of cloth) that serves as a roof to shelter an area from the weather
    a small shelter for domestic animals (as sheep or pigeons)
    dog house, doghouse, kennel
    outbuilding that serves as a shelter for a dog
    rough shelter whose roof has only one slope
    a shelter with perches for fowl or other birds
    a shelter or screen providing protection from enemy fire or from the weather
    sentry box
    a small shelter with an open front to protect a sentry from the weather
    awning, sunblind, sunshade
    a canopy made of canvas to shelter people or things from rain or sun
    ornamented canopy supported by columns or suspended from a roof or projected from a wall (as over an altar)
    columbarium, columbary, dovecote
    a birdhouse for pigeons
    a roost for hens at night
    marquee, marquise
    permanent canopy over an entrance of a hotel etc.
    canopy extending out from a building entrance to shelter those getting in and out of vehicles
    a flat canopy (especially one over a four-poster bed)
    a lightweight handheld collapsible canopy
    type of:
    protection, protective cover, protective covering
    a covering that is intend to protect from damage or injury
  2. noun
    a structure that provides privacy and protection from danger
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    a detached or outdoor shelter for cooking
    either of two low shelters on either side of a baseball diamond where the players and coaches sit during the game
    fallout shelter
    a shelter to protect occupants from the fallout from an atomic bomb
    haven, oasis
    a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary
    hovel, hut, hutch, shack, shanty
    small crude shelter used as a dwelling
    army hut, field hut, hut
    temporary military shelter
    loft, pigeon loft
    a raised shelter in which pigeons are kept
    mantelet, mantlet
    portable bulletproof shelter
    asylum, refuge, sanctuary
    a shelter from danger or hardship
    a shelter or screen providing protection from enemy fire or from the weather
    cyclone cellar, storm cellar, tornado cellar
    an underground shelter where you can go until a storm passes
    collapsible shelter, tent
    a portable shelter (usually of canvas stretched over supporting poles and fastened to the ground with ropes and pegs)
    backpacking tent, pack tent
    a tent that can be carried in a backpack
    bell tent
    a bell-shaped tent
    a small tent used as a dressing room beside the sea or a swimming pool
    canvas, canvas tent, canvass
    a tent made of canvas fabric
    cottage tent
    a tent providing shelter for a family
    fly tent
    a tent with a fly front
    harbor, harbour
    a place of refuge and comfort and security
    igloo, iglu
    an Eskimo hut; usually built of blocks (of sod or snow) in the shape of a dome
    lean-to tent
    tent that is attached to the side of a building
    mountain tent
    a lightweight tent with a floor; flaps close with a zipper
    a reed hut in the marshlands of Iraq; rare since the marshes were drained
    Nissen hut, Quonset hut
    a prefabricated hut of corrugated iron having a semicircular cross section
    marquee, pavilion
    large and often sumptuous tent
    pop tent
    a small tent that is easy to carry and quick to set up
    praetorium, pretorium
    the tent of an ancient Roman general
    pup tent, shelter tent
    a wedge-shaped tent; usually without a floor or windows
    pyramidal tent
    a large tent shaped like a pyramid; can hold half a dozen people
    a refuge from attack
    safe house
    a house used as a hiding place or refuge by members of certain organizations
    teepee, tepee, tipi
    a Native American tent; usually of conical shape
    sealskin tent, tupek, tupik
    tent that is an Eskimo summer dwelling
    two-man tent
    a tent designed for occupancy by two persons
    umbrella tent
    a small tent with a single supporting pole and radiating metal ribs
    type of:
    construction, structure
    a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts
  3. noun
    temporary housing for homeless or displaced persons
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    camp, refugee camp
    shelter for persons displaced by war or political oppression or for religious beliefs
    type of:
    housing, living accommodations, lodging
    structures collectively in which people are housed
  4. noun
    the condition of being protected
    synonyms: protection
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    indemnity, insurance
    protection against future loss
    protection against harmful effects of radiation
    type of:
    the state of being free from danger or injury
  5. verb
    provide shelter for
    “After the earthquake, the government could not provide shelter for the thousands of homeless people”
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    domiciliate, house, put up
    provide housing for
    put up in a kennel
    shelter in a stable
    put into, or keep in, a stall
    harbor, harbour
    secretly shelter (as of fugitives or criminals)
    put up in a new or different housing
    provide with, or send to, a home
    accommodate, lodge
    provide housing for
    place in a chamber
    take in
    provide with shelter
    type of:
    furnish, provide, render, supply
    give something useful or necessary to
  6. noun
    a way of organizing business to reduce the taxes it must pay on current earnings
    synonyms: tax shelter
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    type of:
    decrease, diminution, reduction, step-down
    the act of decreasing or reducing something
  7. verb
    invest (money) so that it is not taxable
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    type of:
    commit, invest, place, put
    make an investment
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