First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Shadow mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Shadow

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Shad"ow
  1. Shade within defined limits; obscurity or deprivation of light, apparent on a surface, and representing the form of the body which intercepts the rays of light; as, the shadow of a man, of a tree, or of a tower. See the Note under Shade (n.), 1.
  2. Darkness; shade; obscurity."Night's sable shadows from the ocean rise." [Denham.]
  3. A shaded place; shelter; protection; security."In secret shadow from the sunny ray, On a sweet bed of lilies softly laid." [Spenser.]
  4. A reflected image, as in a mirror or in water.
  5. That which follows or attends a person or thing like a shadow; an inseparable companion; hence, an obsequious follower."Sin and her shadow Death." [Milton.]
  6. A spirit; a ghost; a shade; a phantom."Hence, horrible shadow!" [Shak.]
  7. An imperfect and faint representation; adumbration; indistinct image; dim bodying forth; hence, mystical representation; type."The law having a shadow of good things to come." [Heb. x. 1.]"Types] and shadows of that destined seed." [Milton.]
  8. A small degree; a shade."No variableness, neither shadowof turning." [James i. 17.]
  9. An uninvited guest coming with one who is invited.(A Latinism)"I must not have my board pastered with shadows That under other men's protection break in Without invitement." [Massinger.]

Etymology: Originally the same word as shade. √162. See Shade

verb Shad"ow
  1. To cut off light from; to put in shade; to shade; to throw a shadow upon; to overspead with obscurity."The warlike elf much wondered at this tree, So fair and great, that shadowed all the ground." [Spenser.]
  2. To conceal; to hide; to screen.(R)"Let every soldier hew him down a bough. And bear't before him; thereby shall we shadow The numbers of our host." [Shak.]
  3. To protect; to shelter from danger; to shroud." Shadowing their right under your wings of war." [Shak.]
  4. To mark with gradations of light or color; to shade.
  5. To represent faintly or imperfectly; to adumbrate; hence, to represent typically."Augustus is shadowed in the person of Æneas." [Dryden.]
  6. To cloud; to darken; to cast a gloom over."The shadowed livery of the burnished sun." [Shak.]"Why sad? I must not see the face O love thus shadowed." [Beau. & Fl.]
  7. To attend as closely as a shadow; to follow and watch closely, especially in a secret or unobserved manner; as, a detective shadows a criminal.

Etymology: OE. shadowen, AS. sceadwian. See adow (n.)

Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Refuge from danger or observation ("he felt secure in his father's shadow")
  2. Something existing in perception only
  3. An indication that something has been present
  4. A premonition of something adverse ("a shadow over his happiness")
  5. An unilluminated area
  6. An inseparable companion ("the poor child was his mother's shadow")
  7. A spy employed to follow someone and report their movements
  8. A dominating and pervasive presence ("he received little recognition working in the shadow of his father")
  9. Shade within clear boundaries
  10. Follow, usually without the person's knowledge ("The police are shadowing her")
  11. Make appear small by comparison
  12. Cast a shadow over

From Middle English schadowe, schadewe, schadwe (also schade > shade), from Old English sceaduwe, sceadwe, oblique form of sceadu (“shadow, shade; darkness; protection”), from Proto-Germanic *skadwaz (“shade, shadow”), from Proto-Indo-European *skot- (“darkness”). Cognate with Scots scaddow, schaddow (“shadow”), Saterland Frisian Skaad (“shade, shadow”), Dutch schaduw (“shadow”), German Schatten (“shadow, shade”), Norwegian skodde (“fog, mist”), Irish scáth (“shadow”), Ancient Greek σκότος (skótos, “darkness, gloom”).

  1. A dark image projected onto a surface where light (or other radiation) is blocked by the shade of an object.
    My lengthened as the sun began to set.
    The X-ray showed a on his lung.
  2. Relative darkness, especially as caused by the interruption of light; gloom, obscurity.
    I immediately jumped into as I saw them approach.
  3. (obsolete) A reflected image, as in a mirror or in water.
  4. That which looms as though a shadow.
    I don't have a of doubt in my mind that my plan will succeed.   The of fear of my being outed always affects how I live my life.   I lived in her my whole life.
  5. A small degree; a shade.
    He did not give even a of respect to the professor.
  6. An imperfect and faint representation.
    He came back from war the of a man.
    the neopagan ritual was only a pale of the ones the Greeks held thousands of years ago
  7. (Britain, law enforcement) A trainee, assigned to work with an experienced officer.
  8. One who secretly or furtively follows another.
    The constable was promoted to working as a for the Royals.
  9. A type of lettering form of word processors that makes a cubic effect.
  10. An influence, especially a pervasive or a negative one.
  11. A spirit; a ghost; a shade.
  12. (obsolete, Latinism) An uninvited guest accompanying one who was invited.
  13. (psychology) In Jungian psychology, an unconscious aspect of the personality.

Notable Persons Named Shadow

Shadow King is a comics character.


Shadow Lass is a comics character.


Shadow Thief is a comics character.


Shadow Hare is a real-life superhero. He was most prominent from 2005 to 2005. Shadow was given the name Unknown in 1987 in Milford, Ohio, U.S. Shadow is also known as Shadow hair.


Shadow Child is a house music, deep house, oldschool jungle, and bass music musician. His most notable accomplishments were from 2004 to present. Shadow was given the name Simon Bird on January 20th, 1977 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. Shadow is also known as Shadow Child, Dave Spoon, Avec, Spoon, and Dave; Shadow Child.


Shadow Wilson was a jazz musician. He plays Drum kit. Shadow was given the name Rossiere Wilson on September 25th, 1919 in Yonkers, New York, US. He breathed his last breath on July 11th, 1959.


Notable Persons With the Last Name Shadow

DJ Shadow is a hip hop music, electronica, trip hop, hip hop production, turntablism, and plunderphonics producer, dj, musician, hip hop production, and disc jockey. He plays Keyboard instrument, Turntablism, Sampler (musical instrument), and Synthesizer. His most notable accomplishments were from 1989 to 1989. DJ was given the name Joshua Paul Davis on June 29th, 1972 in San Jose, California, United States. DJ is also known as Josh Davis and DJ Shadow.


Twin Shadow is an indie pop, new wave music, synthpop, and chillwave musician. He has had major accomplishments since 2000. Twin was given the name George Lewis Jr. in Dominican Republic. Twin is also known as Twin Shadow.


Goldy Locks is an alternative rock and rock music singer-songwriter and manager (professional wrestling). She plays Guitar, Electronic keyboard, Violin, and Vocals. Goldy was given the name Moon Shadow on March 28th, 1977 in Minneapolis. Goldy is also known as Goldylocks.


DJ White Shadow is a musician. DJ was given the name Paul Blair on September 20th, 1978.


Black was born on May 3rd, 1921 in León, Guanajuato. Black is also known as Cruz, Alejandro; Cruz, and Jungla. He died on March 8th, 2007.


The Mighty Shadow is a calypso music and soca music musician, singing, record producer, and songwriter. He plays Vocals. The was born on October 4th, 1941.


How popular is the baby name Shadow in the U.S.?

Click Here to Show Chart Data
Year Total Babies Born Girls Born Boys Born
1974 5 5 0
1975 6 6 0
1978 6 6 0
1979 6 6 0
1980 7 7 0
1986 5 5 0
1987 16 10 6
1988 30 17 13
1989 48 22 26
1990 49 19 30
1991 48 20 28
1992 48 22 26
1993 58 22 36
1994 54 24 30
1995 49 22 27
1996 40 19 21
1997 47 22 25
1998 38 19 19
1999 27 11 16
2000 30 13 17
2001 16 9 7
2002 15 6 9
2003 17 9 8
2004 20 14 6
2005 20 12 8
2006 24 7 17
2007 16 6 10
2008 21 11 10
2009 16 8 8
2010 14 7 7
2011 25 8 17
2012 5 0 5
2013 13 0 13
2014 20 6 14
2015 21 10 11
2016 15 8 7
2017 30 12 18

Where is the name Shadow popular?

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Popularity of Shadow as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Shadow as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Illinois, Louisiana, or Pennsylvania.

Common first names for Shadow

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Shadow U.S.
  White 87.67% 64.26%
  African American 6.00% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 0.00% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 2.33% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 3.33% 16.26%

Of Last Name Shadow

People with the last name Shadow are most frequently White

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Shadow

  • How Popular is the name Shadow? Shadow is the 11,087th most popular name of all time. As a last name Shadow was the 65,964th most popular name in 2010.
  • How many people with the first name Shadow have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 925 babies born with the first name Shadow in the United States. That's more than enough people named Shadow to occupy the country of Vatican City with an estimated population of 800 (as of March 1, 2011).
  • What year were 5 or more babies first named Shadow? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1974 when it was given as a first name to 5 new born babies.
  • When was Shadow first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Shadow is Saturday, September 4th, 1915.
  • What year had the most people named Shadow born? The highest recorded use of the first name Shadow was in 1993 with a total of 36 babies.
  • Random Shadow Factoid: According to the 1995 U.S. Social Security Administration data, the first name Shadow is not a popular baby girl's name in Texas. Imagine that, only 6 babies in Texas have the same name as you in 1995.
  • Weird things about the name Shadow: Your name in reverse order is Wodahs. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Adwhso. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Shadow? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 300 people with the last name Shadow.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Shadow? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Shadow as their last name since less than 1 person in 1.0m people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

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Most Popular Names

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.