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verb, \ˈshāp\

Simple Definition of shape

  • : to give a particular form or shape to (something) : to work with (a material) in order to make something from it

  • : to influence the development of (something) : to help (something) become what it is

  • : to make (something, such as a plan) by a process of careful thought

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of shape


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  form, create; especially :  to give a particular form or shape to

  3. 2 obsolete :  ordain, decree

  4. 3 :  to adapt in shape so as to fit neatly and closely <a dress shaped to her figure>

  5. 4a :  devise, plan <shape a policy>b :  to embody in definite form <shaping a folktale into an epic>

  6. 5a :  to make fit for (as a particular use or purpose) :  adapt <shape the questions to fit the answers>b :  to determine or direct the course or character of <events that shaped history>c :  to modify (behavior) by rewarding changes that tend toward a desired response

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to come to pass :  happen <it's shaping up that I am known now for my husbands — Leslie Marmon Silko>

  9. 2 :  to take on or approach a mature or definite form —often used with up <the summer is shaping up to be one of the hottest on record>

shaper noun

Examples of shape in a sentence

  1. The artist shaped the stone with a hammer and chisel.

  2. Schools shape the minds of future leaders.

  3. Ads help shape public opinion.

Origin of shape

Middle English, from Old English sceapen, gescapen, past participle of scieppan; akin to Old High German skepfen to shape

First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with shape




Simple Definition of shape

  • : the form or outline of an object

  • : the condition of something or someone

  • : a physically strong and healthy condition

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of shape

  1. 1a :  the visible makeup characteristic of a particular item or kind of item <a cake in the shape of a Christmas tree>b (1) :  spatial form or contour <the clouds kept changing shape> (2) :  a standard or universally recognized spatial form <a stain in the shape of a perfect circle>

  2. 2 :  the appearance of the body as distinguished from that of the face :  figure

  3. 3a :  phantom, apparition <eerie shapes floating in the mist>b :  assumed appearance :  guise <a trick-or-treater in the shape of a pumpkin>

  4. 4 :  form of embodiment <our plans are taking shape>

  5. 5 :  a mode of existence or form of being having identifying features

  6. 6 :  a molded dessert; especially :  blancmange

  7. 7 :  the condition in which someone or something exists at a particular time <the car was in fine shape>

shaped play \ˌshāpt\ adjective
in shape
  1. :  in an original, normal, or fit condition <exercises to keep in shape>

Examples of shape in a sentence

  1. circles, squares, triangles, and other geometric shapes

  2. The cake has a rectangular shape.

  3. The pieces came in many different sizes and shapes.

  4. The pieces were sorted by size and shape.

  5. The cloud kept changing shape.

  6. The cake was rectangular in shape.

  7. I need to start exercising and get back in shape.

  8. I'm out of shape because I haven't been exercising.

  9. The players were in poor condition, but the coach quickly whipped them into shape.

  10. She stays in shape by exercising daily and eating well.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of shape

before 12th century

SHAPE Defined for Kids



verb \ˈshāp\

Definition of shape for Students


  1. 1 :  to give a certain form or shape to <Shape the dough into loaves.>

  2. 2 :  to plan out :  devise <We shaped a winning strategy.>

  3. 3 :  to have great influence on the development of <Teachers help shape the minds of future leaders.>

shaper noun
shape up
  1. 1 :  to develop in a particular way <This is shaping up to be an exciting trip.>

  2. 2 :  to improve in behavior or condition




Definition of shape for Students

  1. 1 :  outward appearance :  the form or outline of something <the shape of a pear> <circles, squares, and other shapes>

  2. 2 :  definite arrangement and form <The plan is finally taking shape.>

  3. 3 :  1condition 1 <The car is in poor shape.>

  4. 4 :  a physically fit condition <She keeps in shape by exercising.>

shaped \ˌshāpt\ adjective <a heart-shaped cookie>

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb \ˈshāp\

Medical Definition of shape

shaped; shaping

  1. :  to modify (behavior) by rewarding changes that tend toward a desired response

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up shape? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a timid, meek, or unassertive person

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