adj. shad·ow·i·er, shad·ow·i·est
a. Full of or dark with shadow: See Synonyms at dark.
b. Casting shadows: shadowy trees.
2. Lacking distinctness; faint: shadowy forms in the darkness.
3. Lacking substance; unsubstantial: "It would have been the right thing had he gone before it was too late, for then he might have been only a shadowy dream in Edna's life, instead of a consuming reality" (Kate Chopin).
a. Little known or understood; obscure or mysterious: "Beginnings are apt to be shadowy, and so it is with the first cell, born perhaps more than 3.5 billion years ago" (Jennifer Ackerman).
b. Of questionable character; shady: "[He] had a formidable, if shadowy, reputation for his undercover work" (Peter Grose).
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.