something beneath, behind, or within which a person, animal, or thing is protected from storms, missiles, adverse conditions, etc.; refuge.
the protection or refuge afforded by such a thing: He took shelter in a nearby barn.
protection from blame, incrimination, etc.
a dwelling place or home considered as a refuge from the elements: Everyone's basic needs are food, clothing, and shelter.
a building serving as a temporary refuge or residence for homeless persons, abandoned animals, etc.
Finance. tax shelter.
verb (used with object)
to be a shelter for; afford shelter to: The old barn sheltered him from the rain.
to provide with a shelter; place under cover.
to protect, as by shelter; take under one's protection: Parents should not try to shelter their children from normal childhood disappointments.
Finance. to invest (money) in a tax shelter.
verb (used without object)
to take shelter; find a refuge: He sheltered in a barn.
Finance. to invest money in a tax shelter.

1575–85; perhaps alteration of obsolete sheltron testudo, Old English scieldtruma, equivalent to scield shield + truma body of fighting men; see trim

shelterer, noun
shelteringly, adverb
shelterless, adjective
shelterlessness, noun
self-shelter, noun
unsheltering, adjective

1. retreat, asylum, sanctuary, shield, haven, harbor. See cover. 7. harbor, house. 9. guard, safeguard, shield, defend. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
shelter (ˈʃɛltə)
1.  something that provides cover or protection, as from weather or danger; place of refuge
2.  the protection afforded by such a cover; refuge
3.  the state of being sheltered
4.  (tr) to provide with or protect by a shelter
5.  (intr) to take cover, as from rain; find refuge
6.  (tr) to act as a shelter for; take under one's protection
[C16: of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1585, "structure affording protection," possibly an alteration of M.E. sheltron, sheldtrume "roof or wall formed by locked shields," from O.E. scyldtruma, from scield "shield" (see shield) + truma "troop," related to O.E. trum "firm, strong" (see
trim). The notion is of a compact body of men protected by interlocking shields. Fig. sense is recorded from 1588; meaning "temporary lodging for homeless poor" is first recorded 1890 in Salvation Army jargon; sense of "temporary home for animals" is from 1971. The verb is first attested 1590; in the income investment sense, from 1955. Sheltered "protected from the usual hardships of life" is from 1888.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for shelters
Meanwhile, people in the town were making shelters out of the wreckage of their houses.
The park has playground equipment, picnic shelters, disc golf, and fishing.
These transactions were deemed by the irs to be tax shelters.
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