shape

verb
\ ˈshāp How to pronounce shape (audio) \
shaped; shaping

Definition of shape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : form, create especially : to give a particular form or shape to
2 obsolete : ordain, decree
3 : to adapt in shape so as to fit neatly and closely a dress shaped to her figure
4a : devise, plan shape a policy
b : to embody in definite form shaping a folktale into an epic
5a : to make fit for (a particular use, purpose, etc.) : 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

intransitive verb

1 : to come to pass : happen it's shaping up that I am known now for my husbands— Leslie Marmon Silko
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

shape

noun
plural shapes

Definition of shape (Entry 2 of 2)

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 : the appearance of the body as distinguished from that of the face : figure
3a : phantom, apparition eerie shapes floating in the mist
b : assumed appearance : guise a trick-or-treater in the shape of a pumpkin
4 : form of embodiment The plan is starting to come into shape. — see also take shape
5 : a mode of existence or form of being having identifying features
6 : a molded dessert especially : blancmange
7 : the condition in which someone or something exists at a particular time the car was in fine shape
in shape
: in an original, normal, or fit condition exercises to keep in shape

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Other Words from shape

Verb

shaper noun

Noun

shaped \ ˌshāpt How to pronounce shape (audio) \ adjective

Examples of shape in a Sentence

Verb The artist shaped the stone with a hammer and chisel. Schools shape the minds of future leaders. Ads help shape public opinion. Noun circles, squares, triangles, and other geometric shapes The cake has a rectangular shape. The pieces came in many different sizes and shapes. The pieces were sorted by size and shape. The cloud kept changing shape. The cake was rectangular in shape. I need to start exercising and get back in shape. I'm out of shape because I haven't been exercising. The players were in poor condition, but the coach quickly whipped them into shape. She stays in shape by exercising daily and eating well.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb How the Clinic and IBM end up using the computer could shape opportunities moving forward. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "What is quantum computing and what could it mean for Cleveland?," 4 Apr. 2021 And how might architects today shape a less racist American landscape? Justin Davidson, Curbed, "MoMA’s First Show on Race and Architecture Chooses Lofty Ideas Over Pragmatism," 2 Apr. 2021 Surely, water would shape my mental map of Washington, as the left and right banks of the Seine make sense of Paris, or as the bridges of London give form to the city’s sprawl. Washington Post, "Washington is a city of great bridges and terrible bridges. These are their stories.," 1 Apr. 2021 After all, a government can only pay for students who make it as far as college to begin with, and free tuition cannot shape how a student fares in college or thereafter. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, "Joe Biden wants to make college free. Denmark shows that won’t be enough," 26 Mar. 2021 The balance between compulsion and cooperation may shape the response to future public emergencies. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, "To fight pandemic, people gave up liberties. Will they get them back?," 25 Mar. 2021 To shape its eerie world, songs on House of Balloons sample the likes of Cocteau Twins, Aaliyah, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone, "The Weeknd’s ‘The Party & the After Party’ Paved the Way for our Genre-less Future," 22 Mar. 2021 Moral views can shape beliefs about sexuality, and friends described the Atlanta shooting suspect as being deeply Christian. Lindsay Whitehurst And Michelle L. Price, chicagotribune.com, "Atlanta spa shootings: Stigmas on race, gender and sex overlap," 19 Mar. 2021 Even if the two don't seem directly correlated, immersing yourself in beautiful spaces, or even just walking around a museum and seeing what colors and compositions draw you in, can shape your design scheme at home. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "How This Millennial Reimagined the Home She Grew Up In," 19 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many can’t relate to my story at all — experiences of dating while fat differ vastly depending on someone’s relative size, shape, luck, privilege, and geographical location. Virgie Tovar, Good Housekeeping, "What It's Really Like to Date as a Fat Woman," 25 Mar. 2021 Many of the adult dogs, which varied in shape and size, appeared to be in fair condition but were covered in feces at the home near South Fourth Avenue and East 36th Street, according to the care center announcement. Mike Cruz, The Arizona Republic, "10 dogs found dead, dozens rescued during check at Tucson home," 25 Mar. 2021 Backstage, there are hundreds of containers of Lego bricks, sorted by size, shape and color. Jenna Ross, Star Tribune, "Volunteers keep St. Paul's model train museum on track," 23 Mar. 2021 To find out, the researchers slotted small ultrasound transducers, roughly the size and shape of a domino, into the skulls of two rhesus macaque monkeys. Kelly Servick, Science | AAAS, "Ultrasound reads monkey brains, opening new way to control machines with thought," 22 Mar. 2021 About the size and shape of a football, the tiny motor and propeller packs a powerful punch. Field & Stream, "Best Kayak Motor to Fit the Way You Fish," 19 Mar. 2021 The smallest critter, Ikaria, which Droser and her colleagues recently discovered, was about the size and shape of a grain of rice. Tim Childers, Popular Mechanics, "Humans Share Genes With Weird Headless Creatures," 19 Mar. 2021 Though vastly different in style, my reasoning for buying them was the same — the substantial size and shape was a far cry from the more elegant loafer offerings that the Italian brand is known for. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "The Unexplainable Allure Of Shoes That Make Your Feet Look Big," 17 Mar. 2021 DataGen uses software that represents objects and people as a kind of three-dimensional mesh, allowing the user to easily edit and adjust their size and shape. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Israeli startup raises $18.5 million to train A.I. with fake data," 16 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shape.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of shape

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for shape

Verb

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

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Time Traveler for shape

Time Traveler

The first known use of shape was before the 12th century

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Statistics for shape

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shape.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shape. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for shape

shape

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

shape

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shape (Entry 2 of 2)

: the form or outline of an object
: the condition of something or someone
: a physically strong and healthy condition

shape

verb
\ ˈshāp How to pronounce shape (audio) \
shaped; shaping

Kids Definition of shape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to give a certain form or shape to Shape the dough into loaves.
2 : to plan out : devise We shaped a winning strategy.
3 : to have great influence on the development of Teachers help shape the minds of future leaders.
shape up
1 : to develop in a particular way This is shaping up to be an exciting trip.
2 : to improve in behavior or condition

Other Words from shape

shaper noun

shape

noun

Kids Definition of shape (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : outward appearance : the form or outline of something the shape of a pear circles, squares, and other shapes
2 : definite arrangement and form The plan is finally taking shape.
3 : condition entry 1 sense 1 The car is in poor shape.
4 : a physically fit condition She keeps in shape by exercising.

Other Words from shape

shaped \ ˌshāpt \ adjective a heart-shaped cookie
\ ˈshāp How to pronounce shape (audio) \
shaped; shaping

Medical Definition of shape

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on shape

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shape

Nglish: Translation of shape for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shape for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shape

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