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[shal-oh] /ˈʃæl oʊ/
adjective, shallower, shallowest.
of little depth; not deep:
shallow water.
lacking depth; superficial:
a mind that is not narrow but shallow.
taking in a relatively small amount of air in each inhalation:
shallow breathing.
Baseball. relatively close to home plate:
The shortstop caught the pop fly in shallow left field.
Usually, shallows. (used with a singular or plural verb) a shallow part of a body of water; shoal.
Baseball. at a shallow position:
With the pitcher up, the outfielders played shallow.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to make or become shallow.
Origin of shallow
1350-1400; Middle English schalowe (adj.); akin to Old English sceald shallow (see shoal1)
Related forms
shallowly, adverb
shallowness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shallow
  • Not since records began has so deep a recession been followed by so shallow a recovery in employment.
  • Self-sufficiency is inefficient and shallow markets are more volatile than deep ones.
  • As a result, they must extrapolate deep rock clues from shallow region data.
  • After his release, he moped around for days, his bruises slowly changing from deep blue to shallow yellow.
  • Start with deep seams and leave the shallow seams for when these processes are more fully developed.
  • Even under water there can be habitats such as shallow-water or deep-water zones.
  • Draw a sketch of an ocean cross-section on the board, showing the shallow and deep parts as well as the open ocean.
  • One of the problems with this is that their shallow setbacks make creating even the semblance of a garden a challenge.
  • Mound polenta on dinner plates or in shallow bowls and ladle vegetable ragout over polenta.
  • Take off the grill and place filets in a shallow pan skin side down.
British Dictionary definitions for shallow


having little depth
lacking intellectual or mental depth or subtlety; superficial
(often pl) a shallow place in a body of water; shoal
to make or become shallow
Derived Forms
shallowly, adverb
shallowness, noun
Word Origin
C15: related to Old English sceald shallow; see shoal1
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 shallow

c.1400, schalowe "not deep," probably from or related to Old English sceald (see shoal (n.)). Of breathing, attested from 1875; of thought or feeling, "superficial," first recorded 1580s. The noun, usually shallows, is first recorded 1570s, from the adjective.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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