Etymology
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shadow (n.)
Old English sceadwe, sceaduwe "the effect of interception of sunlight, dark image cast by someone or something when interposed between an object and a source of light," oblique cases ("to the," "from the," "of the," "in the") of sceadu (see shade (n.)). Shadow is to shade (n.) as meadow is to mead (n.2). Similar formation in Old Saxon skado, Middle Dutch schaeduwe, Dutch schaduw, Old High German scato, German schatten, Gothic skadus "shadow, shade."

From mid-13c. as "darkened area created by shadows, shade." From early 13c. in sense "anything unreal;" mid-14c. as "a ghost;" late 14c. as "a foreshadowing, prefiguration." Meaning "imitation, copy" is from 1690s. Sense of "the faintest trace" is from 1580s; that of "a spy who follows" is from 1859.

As a designation of members of an opposition party chosen as counterparts of the government in power, it is recorded from 1906. Shadow of Death (c. 1200) translates Vulgate umbra mortis (Psalms xxiii.4, etc.), which itself translates Greek skia thanatou, perhaps a mistranslation of a Hebrew word for "intense darkness." In "Beowulf," Grendel is a sceadugenga, a shadow-goer, and another word for "darkness" is sceaduhelm. To be afraid of one's (own) shadow "be very timorous" is from 1580s.
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shadow (v.)
Middle English schadowen, Kentish ssedwi, from late Old English sceadwian "to protect as with covering wings" (also see overshadow), from the root of shadow (n.). Similar formation in Old Saxon skadoian, Dutch schaduwen, Old High German scatewen, German (über)schatten. From mid-14c. as "provide shade;" late 14c. as "cast a shadow over" (literal and figurative), from early 15c. as "darken" (in illustration, etc.). Meaning "to follow like a shadow" is from c. 1600 in an isolated instance; not attested again until 1872. Related: Shadowed; shadowing.
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shadow-figure (n.)
"silhouette," 1851, from shadow (n.) + figure (n.).
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shadow-box (n.)
protective display case, 1892, from shadow (n.) + box (n.1).
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eye-shadow (n.)
also eyeshadow, 1918 in the cosmetic sense, in Elizabeth Arden ads in "Cosmopolitan," from eye (n.) + shadow (n.).
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shadow boxing (n.)
1906; see shadow (n.) + box (v.2). To shadow-box (v.) is attested from 1932. Shadow-fight is attested from 1768; also see sciamachy.
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shadowland (n.)
also shadow-land, 1821, "abode of ghosts and spirits," from shadow (n.) + land (n.). From 1923 as "indeterminate place."
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shadowy (adj.)
late 14c., shadewy, "full of shadows," also "transitory, fleeting, unreal;" see shadow (n.) + -y (2). From 1797 as "faintly perceptible." Related: Shadowiness. Old English had sceadwig "shady."
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foreshadow (v.)
"indicate beforehand," 1570s, figurative, from fore- + shadow (v.); the notion seems to be a shadow thrown before an advancing material object as an image of something suggestive of what is to come. Related: Foreshadowed; foreshadowing. As a noun from 1831. Old English had forescywa "shadow," forescywung "overshadowing."
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