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

Growing up with a hands-on mother like Diana has shaped his own parenting style. Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, "How Prince William Is Creating the Same ‘Loving, Caring, Fun Home’ as His Mom Princess Diana," 13 July 2018 This week is shaping as a big one for synth-pop act Years & Years, whose top sophomore album Palo Santo is aiming for a high debut on the U.K. chart. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Watch Years & Years Cover Ariana Grande's 'No Tears Left To Cry' For BBC Radio 1," 13 July 2018 Sustainability shapes her entire philosophy: To create keepsakes, rather than disposable baubles for a season. Monica Kim, Vogue, "SVNR’s Colorful Keepsake Earrings Turn Forgotten Objects Into Chic Mementos," 13 July 2018 As a woman in my 40s, my own perceptions of aging and cultural relevance are constantly being shaped, and reshaped, by media, history, my peers, and strong, uncommon women like Rodin. refinery29.com, "Linda Rodin’s Rise To Accidental Style Icon," 12 July 2018 Today the world economy is shaped much differently. James Bacchus, WSJ, "America Needs the WTO," 12 July 2018 At his funeral, a wreath of white and red flowers was shaped like his Cadillac. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Collapse: The rise and deadly fall of a Baltimore rowhouse," 12 July 2018 But on a more micro level, our disgust sensitivity is also shaped by family environments, norms within our smaller social circles, and our own daily routines and private behaviors. Cari Romm, The Cut, "What Your Ability to Handle Pimple-Popping Videos Says About You," 11 July 2018 Honey baklava is shaped in logs rather than triangles and filled with tahini, honey, carob syrup, and pistachios. Ann Trieger Kurland, BostonGlobe.com, "She’s on a tahini mission," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But with Mueller still investigating, it's not known whether further indictments are taking shape or will. CBS News, "Trump responds to Russian hacking indictment by blaming Obama administration," 14 July 2018 In the first three to 30 days post-infection, Lyme disease can cause a rash (this may expand and take the shape of a bull’s-eye as time passes), headache, fever, chills, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes, according to the CDC. Kate Sheridan, SELF, "Here’s Exactly What to Do if a Tick Bites You," 14 July 2018 All have a basic weeping shape with small blooms that move up the stems. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, "The plants that will attract fall hummingbirds, butterflies," 13 July 2018 To ensure the chicks don’t take to people, keepers wear the disguises to hide the human shape and obscure the face. Washington Post, "Louisiana’s whooping crane comeback: 5 chicks this year," 13 July 2018 High-profile agents like Mr. Eklund and Mr. Gomes are helping shape the landscape of luxury real estate in New York. Amy Gamerman, WSJ, "Like Your Apartment’s Design? Thank Your Agent," 12 July 2018 Our sisters and brothers of different sizes and different shapes. Aisha Harris, New York Times, "Sandra Oh on ‘Killing Eve’ and Her Historic Emmy Nomination," 12 July 2018 The portrayal of addicts as pathological shapes everything from our drug policy to our coke rap. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 Before that, The Hollywood Reporter can offer a sneak preview to the sneak preview, introducing Roach and teasing what shape Spencer is in after the events of the first series. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "Cult Noir Comic 'Spencer & Locke' Returns This Winter," 12 July 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

19 Sep 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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