Meaning of “shallow” in the English Dictionary

"shallow" in British English

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uk /ˈʃæl.əʊ/ us /ˈʃæl.oʊ/

shallow adjective (NOT DEEP)

B2 having only a short distance from the top to the bottom:

The stream was fairly shallow so we were able to walk across it.
She told her children to stay in the shallow end (of the swimming pool).
Fry the onions in a shallow pan.
These beech trees have shallow roots (= roots which do not go very deep into the ground).
shallow breathing

breathing in which you only take a small amount of air into your lungs with each breath

More examples

  • The kids were splashing about in the shallow end of the swimming pool.
  • Several different species of fish inhabit these shallow waters.
  • We waded through a shallow river.
  • The water was shallow so the kids were perfectly safe.
  • In the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico, oil rigs attract shoals of fish.
adverb uk /ˈʃæl.əʊ.li/ us /ˈʃæl.oʊ.li/
noun [ U ] uk /ˈʃæl.əʊ.nəs/ us /ˈʃæl.oʊ.nəs/

Because of the shallowness of the water, we could see the fish in it very clearly.
The fine performances of the actors hide the shallowness of the play's script.


uk /ˈʃæl.əʊ/ us /ˈʃæl.oʊ/

(Definition of “shallow” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"shallow" in American English

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shallowadjective [ -er/-est only ]

us /ˈʃæl·oʊ/

shallow adjective [ -er/-est only ] (NOT DEEP)

having only a short distance from the top to the bottom:

shallow water
Transfer the tofu and broccoli to a shallow bowl.

shallow adjective [ -er/-est only ] (NOT SERIOUS)

not showing serious or careful thought or real understanding:

Reviewers called the book lightweight, shallow, and simplistic.

(Definition of “shallow” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)