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cast a shadow over (something)

To dampen, spoil, or ruin something that was hitherto good or positive. The boy's broken finger cast a shadow over his birthday party. This scandal will undoubtedly cast a shadow over her otherwise impeccable career.
See also: cast, shadow

cast a shadow over (some place)

To fill a place with sadness, grief, dread, or any strong negative emotion. The child's sudden death cast a dark shadow over the house. The dictator's ascension to power has cast a shadow over the country.
See also: cast, shadow

frightened of (one's) (own) shadow

Easily or constantly spooked, nervous, timid, afraid, or fearfully suspicious. I can't say I have much faith in Johnny helping us on this expedition—that boy's frightened of his own shadow! You can't live life frightened of your shadow—you need to get out into the world and taste adventure!
See also: frighten, of, shadow

take the shadow for the substance

dated To accept something false, deceitful, shallow, or insubstantial in place of something true, meaningful, or valuable. (Said especially in religious lectures or sermons about shunning or being led away from faith or the dictates of the church.) In today's modern, materialistic world, it is all too easy to take the shadow for the substance.
See also: shadow, substance, take

a shadow of (one's) former self

A person whose personality has changed dramatically to become decreased in vivacity in some way, often following some traumatic event. Ever since Tim was in that accident, he's been a shadow of his former self. She's so quiet now, like a shadow of her former self. Does anyone know what happened to the bubbly girl we once knew?
See also: former, of, shadow

afraid of one's own shadow

Fig. easily frightened; always frightened, timid, or suspicious. (An exaggeration.) After Tom was robbed, he was even afraid of his own shadow.
See also: afraid, of, shadow

Coming events cast their shadows before.

Prov. Significant events are often preceded by signs that they are about to happen. (From Thomas Campbell's poem, "Lochiel's Warning.") If you pay attention to the news, you can generally tell when something momentous is about to happen. Coming events cast their shadows before.
See also: before, cast, coming, event, shadow

*shadow of oneself

 and *a shadow of itself; *a shadow of one's former self
Fig. someone or something that is not as strong, healthy, full, or lively as before. (*Typically: be ~; become ~.) The sick man was a shadow of his former self. The abandoned mansion was merely a shadow of its old self.
See also: of, shadow

without a shadow of a doubt

 and beyond the shadow of a doubt
without the smallest amount of doubt. I am certain that I am right, without a shadow of a doubt. I felt the man was guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt.
See also: doubt, of, shadow, without

a shadow of your/its former self

a smaller, weaker, or less important form of someone or something With most of its best players traded away, the team was reduced to a shadow of its former self.
See also: former, of, shadow

beyond the shadow of a doubt

also without a shadow of a doubt
so that it is obviously true Letters in her father's own handwriting would prove his guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt.
See also: beyond, doubt, of, shadow

in the shadow of somebody

receiving little attention because someone else is better known or more skillful Tom was a good lawyer, but he was always in the shadow of his famous father.
Usage notes: often used after live: Living in the shadow of a glamorous sister, Hilda was quiet and shy.
See also: of, shadow

in the shadow of something

1. near something Her house is located in the shadow of the state capitol.
2. influenced by something bad that has happened or could happen The children of the survivors lived their lives in the shadow of the Holocaust. The organization is trying to protect civil rights in the shadow of terrorism.
See also: of, shadow

be afraid of your own shadow

to be extremely nervous and easily frightened She's always having panic attacks, she's the kind of person who's afraid of her own shadow.
See also: afraid, of, shadow

a shadow of your former self

if you are a shadow of your former self, you are less strong or less powerful than you were in the past He came back to work after 3 months, completely cured of the cancer but a shadow of his former self.
See also: former, of, shadow

beyond/without a shadow of a doubt

if something is true beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is no doubt that it is true This is without a shadow of a doubt the best film I have seen all year.
See also: beyond, doubt, of, shadow

in somebody's shadow

if you are in someone's shadow, you receive less attention and seem less important than them For most of his life he lived in the shadow of his more famous brother.
See also: shadow

in/under something's shadow

if you are in the shadow of an unpleasant event, you cannot forget that it has happened or might happen in the future The local population were living under the shadow of war.
See also: shadow

afraid of one's own shadow

Very timid and fearful, as in Richard constantly worries about security; he's afraid of his own shadow. This hyperbole has been used in English since the early 1500s, and some writers believe it originated in ancient Greece.
See also: afraid, of, shadow

beyond a doubt

Also, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Certainly so, undoubtedly so, as in Beyond a doubt this is the best view of the valley. This phrase, along with the earlier without doubt (dating from c. 1300), asserts the truth of some statement. W.S. Gilbert's version, in The Gondoliers (1889), is: "Of that there is no manner of doubt-no probable, possible shadow of doubt-no possible doubt whatever." In this context shadow means "a trace or slight suggestion." Another variant is beyond a reasonable doubt. This phrase is often used in court when the judge instructs the jury that they must be convinced of the accused's guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt; reasonable here means "logical and rational." Also see beyond question; no doubt.
See also: beyond, doubt

shadow of one's self

Also, shadow of one's former or old self . A person, group, or thing that has become weaker in physical or mental capacities or in power or authority. For example, After that long battle with the flu, he was just a shadow of his old self, or This new administration is but a shadow of itself, or The revised constitution is a shadow of its former self. The use of shadow for an emaciated person dates from the late 1500s, and by about 1800 the word began to be used for other kinds of attenuation.
See also: of, shadow
References in classic literature ?
Here Holmes turned suddenly to the right and we found ourselves in a large, square, empty room, heavily shadowed in the corners, but faintly lit in the centre from the lights of the street beyond.
It seemed that the bitterest thoughts of her life must have centred about the wooded reaches and the bright green meadows around Goring; but women strangely hug the knife that stabs them, and, perhaps, amidst the gall, there may have mingled also sunny memories of sweetest hours, spent upon those shadowed deeps over which the great trees bend their branches down so low.
On Monday participating students were at businesses and offices all around town as they shadowed politicians, artists, teachers, doctors, police officers and firefighters, accountants, judges and retailers, just to name a few.
Kathi Lund, mother of Saugus High junior Tom Lund who shadowed TimBen Boydston of the Canyon Theatre Guild, said that after she dropped off her son, she ran into student shadows all over town.
That reinforced interests in meteorology for a student who shadowed a television weatherman; a student who observed surgeries at an animal clinic decided that veterinary medicine would not be a personal career goal.
Rosner shadowed the support services director, the outpatient services manager, and the administrator of the pathology department at a hospital in New Haven, Connecticut.
Employers and other businesses leaders who volunteer to be shadowed also take pleasure from rediscovering what it was that initially attracted them to their occupation and what it is that provides meaning and excitement in their jobs.