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[oh-ver-shad-oh] /ˌoʊ vərˈʃæd oʊ/
verb (used with object)
to be more important or significant by comparison:
For years he overshadowed his brother.
to cast a shadow over; cover with shadows, clouds, darkness, etc.; darken or obscure:
clouds overshadowing the moon.
to make sad or hang heavily over; cast a pall on:
a disappointment that overshadowed their last years.
Archaic. to shelter or protect.
before 900; Middle English overshadewen, Old English ofersceadwian. See over-, shadow
Related forms
overshadower, noun
overshadowingly, adverb
1. eclipse, outshine, dwarf. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for overshadowed
  • All of those items are overshadowed by a company that now can't keep its service running.
  • Their lives are overshadowed by a fear that they will not live up to their own goals or the demands of their parents and teachers.
  • But it's not good to let climbing be overshadowed by that.
  • Once you have it, the other waterproof jackets will be overshadowed.
  • The entire concept of the student conference would have been overshadowed by the tension induced by the threats.
  • Thus, controversial theology overshadowed all else and both universities were drawn into the whirlpool of politics.
  • In a few moments the horizon was again overshadowed, and an almost impenetrable gloom mantled the face of the skies.
  • They set out for the place, a pool overshadowed with trees, but apparently connected with the sea.
  • But all moral or theological sentiment is overshadowed by the fascination of city life.
  • Our works of fiction and poetry have been overshadowed by the same infectious gloom.
British Dictionary definitions for overshadowed


verb (transitive)
to render insignificant or less important in comparison
to cast a shadow or gloom over
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for overshadowed



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. Figurative sense is from 1580s. Related: Overshadowed; overshadowing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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