Old English ofersceadwian "to cast a shadow over, obscure;" see over + shadow (v.). It was used to render Latin obumbrare in New Testament, as were Middle High German überschatewen, Middle Dutch overschaduwen, Gothic ufarskadwjan in those languages. Figurative sense is from 1580s. Related: Overshadowed; overshadowing.
updated on November 10, 2019