What Does SHADE Mean in a Text?

SHADE means "Disrespectful." The term SHADE is typically accompanied with the verb "to throw." Someone that "throws shade" is publicly criticizing or expressing contempt for another person.

Until recently, the word SHADE was mainly used in the gay community and in drag queen culture. However, in recent years it has become much more mainstream.

The first known use of SHADE was in the documentary film "Paris Is Burning" (1990), which is based on the Manhattan drag scene in the 1980s.

Image for SHADE

When I write SHADE, I mean this:

meaning of SHADE

SHADE indicates contempt.

Summary of Key Points

"Disrespectful" is the most common definition for SHADE on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Type:Slang Word (Jargon)
Guessability:guessability level 3
3: Guessable
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Examples of SHADE in Sentences

Here are examples of SHADE being used in conversations:
  • Tony: Did you watch RuPaul's Drag Race last night?
  • Jordan: Of course! Did you see the SHADE the contestants were throwing?
  • Tony: Girl, you call yourself legendary? More like leg and dairy!
  • Jordan: Why are you throwing SHADE?

An Academic Look at SHADE

SHADE is typically used as a noun (i.e., a naming word). For example:
  • Terry was throwing serious SHADE at Lola last night.
  • (Here, SHADE is being used as a noun.)

Example of SHADE Used in a Text

author logo

This page is maintained by the Cyber Definitions Editorial Team.

Help Us Improve Cyber Definitions

  • Do you disagree with something on this page?
  • Did you spot a typo?
  • Do you know a slang term that we've missed?
Please tell us using this form.


Try our fun quiz to test your knowledge of slang and texting abbreviations.
gold cup

gold cup

gold cup

  • This test has questions.
  • A correct answer is worth 5 points.
  • You can get up to 5 bonus points for a speedy answer.
  • Some questions demand more than one answer. You must get every part right.
  • Beware! Wrong answers score 0 points.
  • 🏆 If you beat one of the top 3 scores, you will be invited to apply for the Hall of Fame.
Scoring System

Cyber Guru (+)
Cyber Hero (+)
Cyber Captain (+)
Cyber Sergeant (+)
Cyber Recruit (+)