Etymology
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shelter (n.)
1580s, "structure affording protection," possibly an alteration of Middle English sheltron, sheldtrume "roof or wall formed by locked shields," from Old English scyldtruma, from scield "shield" (see shield (n.)) + truma "troop," related to Old English trum "strong, firm, stable," from Proto-Germanic *trum-, from PIE *dru-mo-, suffixed form of root *deru- "be firm, solid, steadfast."

If so, the original notion is of a compact body of men protected by interlocking shields. OED finds this "untenable" and proposed derivation from shield + -ture. Figurative sense is recorded from 1580s; meaning "temporary lodging for homeless poor" is first recorded 1890 in Salvation Army jargon; sense of "temporary home for animals" is from 1971. Related: Shelterless.
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shelter (v.)
1580s, "to screen, protect," from shelter (n.); in the income investment sense, from 1955. Meaning "to take shelter" is from c. 1600. Related: Sheltered; sheltering.
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sheltered (adj.)
"screened, protected," 1590s, past-participle adjective from shelter (v.). Meaning "protected from the usual hardships of life" is from 1888. Related: Shelteredness.
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*deru- 

also *dreu-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "be firm, solid, steadfast," with specialized senses "wood," "tree" and derivatives referring to objects made of wood.

It forms all or part of: betroth; Dante; dendrite; dendro-; dendrochronology; dour; Druid; drupe; dryad; dura mater; durable; durance; duration; duress; during; durum; endure; hamadryad; indurate; obdurate; perdurable; philodendron; rhododendron; shelter; tar (n.1) "viscous liquid;" tray; tree; trig (adj.) "smart, trim;" trim; troth; trough; trow; truce; true; trust; truth; tryst.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit dru "tree, wood," daru "wood, log, timber;" Greek drys "oak," drymos "copse, thicket," doru "beam, shaft of a spear;" Old Church Slavonic drievo "tree, wood," Serbian drvo "tree," drva "wood," Russian drevo "tree, wood," Czech drva, Polish drwa "wood;" Lithuanian drūtas "firm," derva "pine, wood;" Welsh drud, Old Irish dron "strong," Welsh derw "true," Old Irish derb "sure," Old Irish daur, Welsh derwen "oak;" Albanian drusk "oak;" Old English treo, treow "tree," triewe "faithful, trustworthy, honest."

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harbinger (n.)
late 15c., herbengar "one sent ahead to arrange lodgings" (for a monarch, an army, etc.), alteration of Middle English herberger "provider of shelter, innkeeper" (late 12c.), from Old French herbergeor "one who offers lodging, innkeeper," agent noun from herbergier "provide lodging," from herber "lodging, shelter," from Frankish *heriberga "lodging, inn" (cognate with Old Saxon, Old High German heriberga "army shelter"), from Germanic compound *harja-bergaz "shelter, lodgings," which is also the source of harbor (n.). Sense of "forerunner, that which precedes and gives notice of the coming of another" is mid-16c. The unetymological -n- is from 15c. (see messenger). As a verb, from 1640s (harbinge "to lodge" is late 15c.).
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shed (n.)
"building for storage," 1855, earlier "light, temporary shelter" (late 15c., shadde), possibly a dialectal variant of a specialized use of shade (n.). Originally of the barest sort of shelter. Or from or influenced in sense development by Middle English schudde (shud) "a shed, hut."
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refuge (n.)

"shelter or protection from danger, assistance in distress," late 14c., from Old French refuge "hiding place" (12c.), from Latin refugium "a taking refuge; a place of refuge, place to flee back to," from re- "back" (see re-) + fugere "to flee" (see fugitive (adj.)) + -ium neuter suffix in a sense of "place for."

By late 19c. especially "temporary shelter for the destitute or homeless." To take refuge "seek safety or shelter (in)," literally or figuratively, is by 1690s.

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cabana (n.)
"a hut or shelter," 1898, western U.S., from American Spanish cognate of cabin (q.v.).
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lee (n.)

Middle English le, leoh, from Old English hleo "shelter, cover, defense, protection," from Proto-Germanic *khlewaz (source also of Old Norse hle, Danish , Old Saxon hleo, Dutch lij "lee, shelter"). The original sense is uncertain; it might have been "warm" (compare German lau "tepid," Old Norse hly "shelter, warmth"), and Watkins traces it to a PIE *kle-wo-, a suffixed variant form of the root *kele- (1) "warm."

Nautical sense "that part of the hemisphere to which the wind is directed" (c. 1400) is of Scandinavian origin, from the notion of the side of the ship opposite that which receives the wind as the sheltered side. As an adjective, 1510s, from the noun. The lee shore is that toward which the wind blows. Middle English also had lewth "warmth, shelter," Old English hleowþ, with Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)). Also compare lukewarm.

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hen-house (n.)

1510s, "a coop or shelter for fowls," from hen + house (n.). As a place chiefly inhabited or ruled by women, from 1785.

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