To overshadow is to appear more important or larger than something else. Your sister’s tendency to interrupt and speak loudly sometimes overshadows what a caring person she is.

You can use this verb in a very literal way, to mean “cast a shadow over something smaller,” like the enormous oak tree in your yard that overshadows your small house. It’s also possible to figuratively overshadow, like when your worry about next week’s math test overshadows the happiness you feel waking up to a snow day. One person can overshadow another too, when they appear more interesting, successful, or attractive.

Definitions of overshadow
  1. verb

    cast a shadow upon

    “The tall tree
    overshadowed the house”
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    eclipse, occult

    cause an eclipse of (a celestial body) by intervention
    type of:

    becloud, befog, cloud, fog, haze over, mist, obnubilate, obscure

    make less visible or unclear

  2. verb

    be greater in significance than

    “the tragedy
    overshadowed the couple’s happiness”
    dominate, eclipse
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    type of:

    brood, bulk large, hover, loom

    hang over, as of something threatening, dark, or menacing

  3. verb

    make appear small by comparison

    dwarf, shadow

Word Family