shape

verb
\ˈshāp \
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

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 our plans are taking 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 \ 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

The president has barnstormed the nation this fall, holding multiple rallies a week, mindful that his future will be shaped by Election Day. Ken Thomas, The Seattle Times, "WHAT TO WATCH: After turbulent campaign, it’s up to voters," 7 Nov. 2018 Usually that point of view is shaped by participating in the ecosystem before. Eric Johnson, Recode, "How to get a job in venture capital," 26 Aug. 2018 In the 17th and 18th centuries, many Europeans thought the planet was shaped by a series of biblical catastrophes, and the wrath of God remained a trendy explanation for the position of the continents. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "We’ve Been Wrong Before: The Expanding Earth Theory," 3 Aug. 2018 The team, like the nation, is a global crossroads, a place shaped by hundreds of years of colonial history and migration. Laurent Dubois, The Atlantic, "France’s Ghosts Return for the World Cup," 14 July 2018 Kavanaugh seems likeliest to change the court through his dogged conservatism, shaped by his belief that the founders intended for Congress to write the laws, the executive branch to execute them and judges to draw a bright line between the two. Brian Bennett, Time, "How Brett Kavanaugh Could Change the Supreme Court—and America," 12 July 2018 All this flux in interpreting the 14th Amendment could be vitally affected by the ideological balance in the Supreme Court as it is shaped by Donald Trump. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "On the 150th Birthday of the 14th Amendment, Its Future Hangs in the Balance," 9 July 2018 With his distinct facial features and impaired abilities, Tony is shaped forever by his mother’s drinking. Joan Gaylord, The Christian Science Monitor, "'There There' weaves a powerful tale of contemporary urban Native Americans," 2 July 2018 Studies show relationships between humans and dogs vary across cultures and societies—shaped by factors including security, companionship, transport or religious beliefs. Yana Paskova, National Geographic, "Learning to Love Dogs in Kigali," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With that said, vulvas come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and all variations are considered normal. Seventeen.com Editors, Seventeen, "Is My Vagina Normal?," 18 Oct. 2018 Mackinac Island, MI Hold up your hand to represent the mitten shape of Michigan, and imagine Mackinac Island as a speck just above the tip of your middle finger, where Lake Huron meets Lake Michigan. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Islands in the U.S.: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 The chocolate piñatas come in many shapes — there's also a Minnie Mouse wearing a witch hat, for example — but Jack Skellington has appeared to honor both Halloween and the 25th anniversary of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "QUIZ: Could You Eat Your Way Through All of Disney's Halloween Treats?," 1 Oct. 2018 What relation does that early Hemmerle piece have to the geometric shapes, mismatched earrings, and rectangular gems that are so revered today? Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "The Secret Global Network of Private Super Jewelers," 20 Sep. 2018 Purple and pink eye shadow in mod shapes became my thing after seeing the fall 2018 collection, and vertical lines down the center of my eyes were my go-to look after the spring/summer 2018 one. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Pat McGrath Made Holographic No-Makeup Makeup Happen at the Anna Sui Spring 2019 Show," 11 Sep. 2018 Sporting dogs require daily exercise to stay in shape, lean, and energetic. Shelby Deering, Country Living, "Ask a Country Vet: How Can I Keep My Sporting Dog Healthy and Happy?," 11 Sep. 2018 Freestanding baths are available in many shapes and sizes. Ed Del Grande, The Seattle Times, "Freestanding tub is like artwork for the bathroom," 10 Sep. 2018 The shape of the field, just the pace of the action, the strategy. Eric Johnson, Recode, "‘The NFL is like a drug lord and football is like crack,’ says ‘Big Game’ author Mark Leibovich," 10 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for shape

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shape

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

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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 \
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 \
shaped; shaping

Medical Definition of shape 

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

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Comments on shape

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