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.

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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Definitions of shelter
1
shelter (n.)
a structure that provides privacy and protection from danger;
shelter (n.)
protective covering that provides protection from the weather;
shelter (n.)
the condition of being protected;
Synonyms: protection
shelter (n.)
a way of organizing business to reduce the taxes it must pay on current earnings;
Synonyms: tax shelter
shelter (n.)
temporary housing for homeless or displaced persons;
2
shelter (v.)
provide shelter for;
After the earthquake, the government could not provide shelter for the thousands of homeless people
shelter (v.)
invest (money) so that it is not taxable;
From wordnet.princeton.edu