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

In Hoffman’s view, evolution has shaped our brains to operate in much the same way, as a graphical interface that doesn’t reproduce the world with any sort of fidelity. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "How Quantum Mechanics Lets Us See, Smell and Touch," 24 Oct. 2018 In so many ways, the Sears kit homes popularized many trends that would shape American housing. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How Sears Kit Homes changed housing," 16 Oct. 2018 Human experiment The attractive magic of Fortnite is an artful mix of game design with a persuasive technology designed to shape the behavior of users. Betsy Morris, WSJ, "How Fortnite Triggered an Unwinnable War Between Parents and Their Boys," 21 Dec. 2018 Facebook could spend even more on policy wonks to shape and prepare for more heavy-handed regulation of tech companies. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How Congress missed another chance to hold big tech accountable," 12 Dec. 2018 No one behemoth held the power to shape the standards of the web in its own interest. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Google Chrome Is Poised to Swallow the Whole Internet," 4 Dec. 2018 That experiential component is easier to shape in the context of exhibitions, via light and scent and interiors. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Only 500 of This Artist’s Space Kit Candle Are Up for Grabs—And They’re Totally Worth the Hype," 30 Nov. 2018 Months before that, Bloomberg directed his political team to work hand in hand with leading Democratic allies to shape the first nationwide election of Trump’s presidency. Steve Peoples, The Seattle Times, "Bloomberg likely to decide on 2020 bid by early next year," 14 Nov. 2018 Russia has been maneuvering in talks at the U.N. this week to shape the future of Syria, influence nonproliferation negotiations with North Korea and bolster Venezuela's embattled president. Fox News, "Russia seeks to counter US weight as Lavrov takes UN stage," 28 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Then, fold it in like a letter on both sides, flip it over, and continue to roll (this will help the dough keep a more uniform shape). Audrey Bruno, SELF, "How to Make Homemade Pasta Without a Machine," 7 Jan. 2019 Apparently the fluted shape produces more aroma-rich CO2 just under the imbiber's nose, the better to enhance the flavor. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The secret to champagne’s universal appeal is the physics of bubbles," 31 Dec. 2018 Jutting out over the lake’s shore and connecting to land via steel piles, the 540-square-foot prefab rooms have a sumptuous arched shape that’s reminiscent of a boat’s bow. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "The 7 most impressive prefab homes from 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 Our testers gave it high scores for support, but keep in mind that this unique shape may fit awkwardly into traditional pillowcases. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, "7 Best Memory Foam Pillows You Can Buy," 21 Dec. 2018 Different glass shapes can drastically effect the flavor and experience of drinking champagne. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Everything You Need to Know About Brut Champagne," 21 Dec. 2018 Both of these architectural styles are more traditional, with lots of separate, smaller rooms and an overall rectangular shape. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "Here’s Why Ranch-Style Houses Are Called Ranches," 20 Dec. 2018 After taking your measurements to a pre-existing pattern, gowns are sized to the largest measurement in the mix; i.e. pear shapes should expect bodices to be too big, while busty silhouettes will likely have lots to take in at the waist and hips. Melissa Colgan, Harper's BAZAAR, "How to Shop for a Wedding Dress—When Bridal Salons Aren’t What You’d Expect," 11 Dec. 2018 Her silver dress was a vintage choice from the Spring/Summer 1999 Versace collection, and made a statement thanks to the delicate halter neck, dramatic backless shape and dipped hemline. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Blake Lively's Silver Chainmail Dress and Huge Curls are Your Ultimate Holiday Party Inspiration," 3 Dec. 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

10 Jan 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on shape

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shape

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shape

Spanish Central: Translation of shape

Nglish: Translation of shape for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shape for Arabic Speakers

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