a shadow of (oneself)(redirected from a shadow of themselves)
a shadow of (oneself)
Someone or something that has changed dramatically to become decreased in vivacity in some way, often following negative circumstances or some traumatic event. Tom's been nothing but a shadow of himself since that accident, his bubbly, outgoing persona replaced by gloom and seriousness. The mass emigration of workers from the country during the recession has left it a mere shadow of itself.
*shadow of oneselfand *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.
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.