Meaning of shady


Any place that’s protected from the glare and heat of the sun is shady, as in a “shady nook.” But as its darkened nature implies, shady has the equally popular meaning of “suspicious, dangerous, or deceitful.” A “shady character” is up to no good.

The metaphorical meaning of shady has long been embraced by slang. Since at least the 1950’s, the phrase “got it made in the shade” means having a great and easy life or job (picture eastern sultans being shaded by servants holding giant leaves). The rap sultan Eminem calls his evil alter-ego “Slim Shady,” conjuring up a devilish suggestion of the Prince of Darkness himself — someone who definitely lives in a shady neighborhood.

Definitions of shady
  1. adjective

    filled with shade

    shady side of the street”

    shadowed, shadowy, umbrageous


    protected from heat and light with shade or shadow
  2. adjective

    not as expected

    shady deal”

    fishy, funny, suspect, suspicious


    subject to question
  3. adjective

    of questionable taste or morality




    lacking respectability in character or behavior or appearance
  4. adjective

    (of businesses and businessmen) unscrupulous

    shady operation”


    untrustworthy, untrusty

    not worthy of trust or belief

Word Family

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