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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shape

Verb

shaper noun

Noun

shaped \ ˌshāpt How to pronounce shaped (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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The idea behind this project was really shaped by the material qualities of the Rimowa aluminum plates, plus the fact that the exhibition site, Spazio Maiocchi, was previously a garage. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "Rimowa Kicks Off Milan Design Week with a Stunning Aluminum Car Sculpture," 9 Apr. 2019 Castellini walked through mud to show the four-acre site near the Mill Creek that will be transformed into the campground and where the amphitheater will be shaped and constructed on a hillside. Mark Curnutte, Cincinnati.com, "Reds Community Fund to take big swing at renovating old Jewish Community Center site," 2 July 2018 Next Generation, whose handle and head are both smaller than the standard one and shaped adorably like a penguin with a bow tie. Suzannah Weiss, Glamour, "This Extra-Powerful Sex Toy Is Almost Too Good," 28 Mar. 2019 Instead, a commitment to dutiful citizenship, equal access to rights and justice, and integrity should shape our daily choices and interactions with others. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Terry Crews's Family Comment Perpetuates Toxic Masculinity," 9 Mar. 2019 Instead, the gas jet nozzle (or nozzles) has to be very carefully shaped to give exactly the right density profile. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Gas jets make beautiful lens for light we can’t normally focus," 21 Dec. 2018 The two-bedroom home is shaped like a door stop, which creates the slanted stadium seating outside and moments of angular coziness inside. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Modern Japanese house has a climbable roof," 26 Nov. 2018 But since the controller is ball-shaped, makes sounds, and comes attached to a rope-like holster, pets everywhere are confused. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "The Pokémon: Let’s Go Poké Ball controller is psyching out dogs," 20 Nov. 2018 Instead, Bell shaped fast-flying figurations to bring forth the melodic shapes underlying the fireworks, Alsop providing a supple orchestral cushion. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "CSO at Ravinia review: Marin Alsop poetically launches Bernstein tribute," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The brand Shrimps might be the originator of this trend—not only because of its name, but because of its logo, featuring two little pink shrimp facing one another, in the shape of a heart. Tara Gonzalez, Glamour, "The Next Big 2019 Fashion Trend Is... Shrimp?," 12 Apr. 2019 There was a replica of the Hotel de Paris and the dance floor was in the shape of a swimming pool, and as always, in honor of Princess Grace’s favorite flowers, thousands of roses everywhere. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "Princess Caroline Wore Her Mother Grace Kelly's Pearls for the First Time Since Her Death," 1 Apr. 2019 The shape of some makeup products, for example, isn't always universally conducive to being picked up or held. Marci Robin, Allure, "A New Makeup Brand Is Making Mascara Wands More Accessible for People With Disabilities," 22 Mar. 2019 Mix and match white planters of different shapes and sizes to keep the look uniformly chic. Heather Corcoran, ELLE Decor, "How to Bring Old Hollywood Into Your Home," 19 Mar. 2019 Remaining nonplussed in the face of extreme bodily risk is all in a day’s work for Vikander, who has made a career out of shape-shifting seamlessly into radically strong female characters in thoughtful indie films and commercial blockbusters alike. Harper's BAZAAR, "Alicia Vikander Leaps to New Heights—in Life and Fashion," 13 Mar. 2019 With its soothing gray color, fold-over flap and relaxed shape, this bag from Coach is made for these sartorially mixed-up days of business-casual dressing. Max Berlinger, latimes.com, "LeBron James carries a $41,000 bag. Here's your chance to get into the man-bag game with these picks," 12 July 2018 Women of all shapes, ages, styles, and skin tones rocked what was comfortable to them. refinery29.com, "Half A Million People Went To Essence Festival — & These 25 Looks Stood Out," 10 July 2018 First things first: breasts come in all different shapes and sizes, and all kinds are beautiful. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Are Your Boobs Normal? We Asked An Expert," 8 Mar. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shape

Statistics for shape

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shape

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on shape

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

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!