Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To cast a shadow over; darken or obscure.
  • transitive verb To make insignificant by comparison; dominate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To throw a shadow over; overshade; shade.
  • To shelter; protect; cover with protecting influence.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To throw a shadow, or shade, over; to darken; to obscure.
  • transitive verb To cover with a superior influence; to be viewed as more important than.
  • transitive verb To cause to be sad or disappointing; to cast a sad shadow on.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To obscure something by casting a shadow.
  • verb transitive To dominate something and make it seem insignificant.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb be greater in significance than
  • verb cast a shadow upon
  • verb make appear small by comparison

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English ofersceadwian, from ofer- ("over-") + sceadwian ("cover with shade"), a calque of Latin obumbrō, from ob ("over") + umbrō ("shade"). Compare Dutch overschaduwen, German überschatten.

Examples

  • The word overshadow here means, rather, to be diffused or spread over them.

    Barnes New Testament Notes

  • However, the difficulty there is finding someone who can demand the kind of budget the film needs while not having his name overshadow the character.

    Film School Rejects

  • Even if the wines are well-made, will the name overshadow the success of the winermaker?

    Pompous Ass: Yes to the Latter?

  • The custody battle and divorce case, he said last week, could "overshadow" his free-agent maneuvering.

    Dwyane Wade's Estranged Wife Sues Gabrielle Union Citing Emotional Distress

  • Alliance have said that the proposals could "overshadow" any good work done by the group.

    Digging up the past

  • Alliance have said that the proposals could "overshadow" any good work done by the group.

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And that's, you know, and that's the problem sometimes with some of these summits, with the G20 and G8 and -- is that other outside things tend to kind of overshadow what's going on.

    CNN Transcript Jul 8, 2009

  • COSTELLO: Well I have heard other actors in the movie kind of overshadow him with their performances.

    CNN Transcript Dec 26, 2008

  • He complained that his numerous offers to help the ailing insurer were rebuffed because of fears Mr. Greenberg would "overshadow" the current management.

    Hope Floats Stocks

  • He complained that his numerous offers to help the ailing insurer were rebuffed because of fears Mr. Greenberg would "overshadow" the current management.

    AIG in Focus

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