Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shade n.1

[SE shade, partial darkness]

1. (UK Und.) a wig.

[UK] Ordinary of Newgate Accounts 8 Nov. [Internet] He told Dr. Fluellin, he had seen a Tale, (a Sword) a Scout, (a Watch) a Calm and Shade, (a Hat and Wig) a Brace of Wedges, (Silver Buckles) and an outside Toge, (a Cloak).

2. (US Und.) an umbrella or sunshade.

[US]Ladies’ Repository (N.Y.) Oct. VIII:37 317/1: Shade, an umbrella.

3. in pl., a variety of late-night music-halls and bars on or near the Strand, London; used generically in US [their opening during the ‘shady’ hours].

[UK] ‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 157: Shades (the) at London-bridge are under Fishmongers’ hall. [...] The Shades at Spring-gardens, is a subterranean ale-shop.
[UK]Flash Mirror 4: The Shades, Strand. [...] This house is called The Darkeys. Swell men, wide awake customers, and mechanics of all sorts nightly congregate here.
[UK]J.E. Ritchie Night Side of London 118: Wine-shades attract us; we hear the clink of billiards.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 176: Where there are now cafés chantants with a Shades beneath. [Ibid.] 179: The Shades, a remnant of the old London night cellars, bringing to mind Tom King’s Coffee-house.
[US]Schele de Vere Americanisms 315: In the cities Shades are perhaps the most numerous, suggesting cozy retreats, secure from the bright light of day.
[UK]E. Edwards Words, Facts and Phrases 507: Shades. [...] The name originated at Brighton. [...] Numbers of other publicans, in London and elsewhere, adopted the name ‘Shades’, which is now fully established in the language as a synonym for wine vaults .
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 110/1: Dive (Amer. Eng.). An underground drinking-bar. [...] Equivalent to the lost London word ‘Shades’ – from the underground darkness of these resorts. The last ‘shades’ were in Leicester Square. The first dive is scarcely more than a gun-shot away in Piccadilly.

4. in racial contexts.

(a) (US) a derog. term for a black person.

[US]Harper’s Mag. 676/2: An eye-witness ran out and ordered the ‘shade’ to ‘get off the walk or he would have him fined.’.
[US]J.D. Corrothers Black Cat Club 25: As ef de souls ob dem two shades / Still struggled in de razah blades!
[US]B.T. Harvey ‘Addenda – The Northwest’ in DN IV:ii 164: shade, n. A negro.
[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 297: Synonyms of Negro [...] : shade, shine, smoke.
[US] ‘Konky Mohair’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 103: In no time at all Konky got on the ball / And had ten whores – nine pinks and a shade.
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 23: It’s a lotta shades, you know, that still go for these old corny publications.
[US](con. 1960s) I.L. Allen Lang. of Ethnic Conflict 47: Color Allusions, Other than ‘Black’ and ‘Negro’: […] shade [1960s].

(b) (US) a derog. term for a white person; occas. as adj.

[US]N. Spinrad Bug Jack Barron 7: Die you shade mother!
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 161: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Phat. Shade. Shine.

5. (US Und.) a receiver of stolen goods.

[US]Collier’s n.p.: If [the loot] is merchandise, it is sold to a ‘fence’ or ‘shade.’.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

6. (Irish) a police officer.

[Ire]T. Murphy Whistle in the Dark Act III: Mush’d bring the police awful fast. She’s a terror for the shades when she’s in trouble.
[UK](con. 1930s) J. Healy Death of an Irish Town 19: ‘The shades! Screw the shades,’ was the dialect to warn the combatants that the guards were here.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Shades (n): police.

7. in pl., dark glasses, sunglasses [note 19C shades, goggles, e.g. for use during stone-breaking].

[US]Hepster’s Dict. 9: Shades – Eye glasses.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 30: A curly-haired [...] thin guy in beret and shades.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 7: He’s taken to wearing shades lately.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 11: Behind the reflecting glass of the shades they both wore, Shaft felt their eyes lock.
[Aus]Tharunka (Sydney) 8 Nov 28/2: Exit lean streak of misery wearing shades and beer-stained Levis, unwashed dirty tee-shirt.
[UK]M. Thelwell Harder They Come 243: He was busy with his shades.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 18: The leader dropped his shades, shuttering the toxic stare.
[US]C. Carr Our Town 367: Here they cut to Thompson, wearing round blue-tinted shades.
[UK]in K. Richards Life 178: ‘Wear shades and don’t say a thing’.

In phrases

in the shade

(US Und.) in prison.

[US]Wash. Post 11 Nov. Misc. 3/4: At times a ‘subscription’ was raised for the brother ‘in the shade’ or ‘in Mexico.’.
A. Baer Putting ’Em Over 2 Oct. [synd. col.] He tore off a two-year stretch in the shade.