adjective, shad·i·er, shad·i·est.

  1. abounding in shade; shaded: shady paths.
  2. giving shade: a shady tree.
  3. shadowy; indistinct; spectral.
  4. of dubious character; rather disreputable: shady dealings.


  1. on the shady side of, Informal. beyond (the specified age); more than: on the shady side of 40.

adjective shadier or shadiest

  1. full of shade; shaded
  2. affording or casting a shade
  3. dim, quiet, or concealed
  4. informal dubious or questionable as to honesty or legality

adj.“affording shade,” 1570s; “protected by shade,” 1590s; from shade (n.) + -y (2). Meaning “disreputable” (1862) probably is from earlier university slang sense of “of questionable merit, unreliable” (1848). Related: Shadily; shadiness. Old English had sceadlic “shady, ‘shadely.'”

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