Definition of shelter in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈʃɛltə/


1A place giving temporary protection from bad weather or danger: huts like this are used as a shelter during the winter an air-raid shelter
More example sentences
  • We need up to 45,000 more winterised tents and temporary shelters.
  • The victims now live in temporary shelters - makeshift tents on the street in front of Manggarai railway station.
  • A year after the earthquake that devastated Gujarat, local people still live in tents or temporary shelters.
1.1A place providing food and accommodation for the homeless: did they give you any breakfast at the shelter?
More example sentences
  • Later he was an energy trader for Goldman Sachs, he delivered food to homeless shelters, and he helped a friend promote his new restaurant.
  • Many young people will give part of their holiday to volunteer at homeless shelters and food pantries.
  • But the couple doesn't give to homeless shelters and food banks, saying the poor should raise themselves out of poverty.
1.2An animal sanctuary: the shelter sees many dogs which have been dumped on Dartmoor
More example sentences
  • If money isn't an issue, then another option is to volunteer at places like hospitals/health care facilities and animal shelters.
  • Or they find an animal shelter and leave the dog or cat there amongst hundreds of suffering diseased animals.
  • Animal shelters provide a valuable service to the community that they serve by keeping the streets as free of stray animals as possible.
sanctuary, place of shelter, refuge, accommodation, housing, home, place of safety, haven, safe haven, sanctum, safe house;
harbour, port in a storm, ark;
retreat, bolt-hole, foxhole, hiding place, hideaway, hideout, fastness;
Spanish querencia
2 [mass noun] A shielded or safe condition; protection: he hung back in the shelter of a rock you’re welcome to take shelter from the storm
More example sentences
  • Police cars drove at speed through the streets, their loudspeakers ordering pedestrians to take shelter or hide under cover of tall buildings.
  • Due to adverse weather conditions the ship may take shelter in ports in Spain, Portugal or Madeira on her journey to Tenerife, according to a spokesperson for the company.
  • With many hundreds of school buses available, the city chose to provide safe shelter for those who did not or could not leave town in the Super Dome.
protection, shield, cover, a roof, screen, shade;
safety, security, defence, refuge, sanctuary, asylum, safe keeping, safeguarding


[with object]
1Protect or shield from something harmful, especially bad weather: the hut sheltered him from the cold wind
More example sentences
  • The soil is particularly rich and is mostly sheltered from the worst weather.
  • It's been overwintering in the sun room, but now that it has a larger pot I think I will put it in a relatively sheltered spot outside.
  • Pick a spot that is sheltered from strong winds and gets at least 6 hours of sun a day.
protect, keep safe, shield, cover, screen, shade, keep from harm, afford protection to, provide protection for, save, safeguard, wrap, cover for, preserve, conserve, defend, cushion, secure, guard, hedge;
inoculate, insulate
protected, screened, shielded, covered, calm;
shady, shaded, cool;
cosy, snug, warm
1.1 [no object, with adverbial of place] Find refuge or take cover from bad weather or danger: people were sheltering under store canopies and trees
More example sentences
  • She and her four children are sheltering under sticks covered with cloth.
  • Miri and the girls had to cover their faces to shelter from the heat.
  • Waterford is also an effective port of refuge for Irish and foreign trawlers to shelter from bad weather, which I saw for myself when in the port.
take shelter, take refuge, seek protection, seek refuge, seek sanctuary, take cover
informal hole up
1.2Prevent (someone) from having to do or face something difficult or unpleasant: we are sheltered from the awfulness of reality
More example sentences
  • This, coupled with leading an isolated and sheltered life, had made it difficult for him to form personal relationships.
  • No evidence has emerged of any coordinated network sheltering these people, and all charity and aid organisations are careful to deny supporting such efforts.
  • While there are many practical problems involved in sheltering people from a different culture, we also know the rewards that would flow.
secluded, withdrawn, isolated, protected, immune, cloistered, unworldly, sequestered, retired, reclusive;
privileged, secure, safe, quiet, cosy, comfortable
1.3Protect (income) from taxation: only your rental income can be sheltered
More example sentences
  • Over time, this would shelter most investment income from taxation, leaving taxes mainly on wage-and-salary income.
  • Real estate tax breaks may shelter that income and perhaps even provide a paper loss to offset other gains.
  • The first of these follows the effect of high tax rates on the incentive to generate taxable income or to shelter income by legitimate means - tax avoidance.



Pronunciation: /ˈʃɛltərə/
Example sentences
  • In fact, they become the shelterers instead of the sheltered.
  • But because of the tax shelterers ' greed, those dark clouds are gathering on the California horizon.
  • She described a macabre scene of champagne corks popping, couples dancing and wild singing as the shelterers got increasingly drunk.


Pronunciation: /ˈʃɛltələs/
Example sentences
  • ‘Your departure left me the shelterless victim of a major disaster.’
  • Also, it said, ‘About half of the shelterless people we wake at night tell us that they do not have any income because they have difficulty accessing the new welfare system.’
  • In the middle of all these bureaucratic doings, the hapless bus commuters suddenly find themselves shelterless from the elements during their wait for the erratic city buses.


Late 16th century: perhaps an alteration of sheld, an old spelling of shield, + -ure.

Words that rhyme with shelter

belter, delta, helter-skelter, melter, pelta, Shelta, swelter, welter

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: shel|ter

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