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shade / shād/ • n. 1. comparative darkness and coolness caused by shelter from direct sunlight: sitting in the shade | this area will be in shade for much of the day. ∎  the darker part of a picture. ∎  (usu. shades) poetic/lit. a shadow or area of darkness: the shades of evening drew on. ∎ fig. a position of relative inferiority or obscurity: her elegant pink and black ensemble would put most outfits in the shade. ∎  hist. a portrait in silhouette.2. a color, esp. with regard to how light or dark it is or as distinguished from one nearly like it: various shades of blue | Maria's eyes darkened in shade. ∎ Art a slight degree of difference between colors. ∎  a slightly differing variety of something: politicians of all shades of opinion. ∎  [in sing.] a slight amount of something: there is a shade of wistfulness in his rejection.3. a lampshade. ∎  (often shades) a screen or blind on a window. ∎  an eyeshade. ∎  (shades) inf. sunglasses.4. poetic/lit. a ghost. ∎  (the Shades) the underworld; Hades.• v. [tr.] 1. screen from direct light: she shaded her eyes against the sun. ∎  cover, moderate, or exclude the light of: he shaded the flashlight with his hand.2. darken or color (an illustration or diagram) with parallel pencil lines or a block of color: she shaded in the outline of a chimney. ∎  [intr.] (of a color or something colored) gradually change into another color: the sky shaded from turquoise to night blue.3. make a slight reduction in the amount, rate, or price of: banks may shade the margin over base rate they charge customers.PHRASES: a shade —— a little ——: he was a shade hung over.shades of —— used to suggest reminiscence of or comparison with someone or something specified: colleges were conducting campaigns to ban Jewish societies—shades of Nazi Germany.DERIVATIVES: shade·less adj.shad·er n.