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 upthe 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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb His campaign staff meets in a coworking office space within a mile radius of the places that shaped him. Julia Fair, Cincinnati.com, "Todd McMurty: The local lawyer, father and grill enthusiast who wants Rep. Thomas Massie's job," 25 May 2020 Balloons shaped like stars bobbed above their heads. Lizzie Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, "When the coronavirus came to San Francisco’s Bayview, it attacked the heart of the historically black neighborhood: the elders," 15 May 2020 All three species are similarly torpedo-shaped, though their coloration, markings, habits, and habitats vary considerably. Bob Mcnally, Field & Stream, "The Beginner’s Guide to Catching Your First Fish," 11 May 2020 In de Sitter space-time, where the cosmological constant has a positive value, the universe is shaped like a sphere. Quanta Magazine, "New Math Proves That a Special Kind of Space-Time Is Unstable," 11 May 2020 Their community connections had shaped their lives. Duaa Eldeib, ProPublica, "COVID-19 Took Black Lives First. It Didn’t Have To.," 9 May 2020 Kay would have had to carefully dowel these cuts together, and then shape them into a perfectly round wheel. Cody Cassidy, Wired, "Who Invented the Wheel? And How Did They Do It?," 6 May 2020 Though economic recoveries from the 1950s to the 1980s were often V-shaped, recent business cycles have proven more lopsided. The Economist, "Free exchange Why the unemployed in America could face a lost decade," 2 May 2020 The strength of your leaders—their humanity—will shape your culture. Kit Krugman, Quartz at Work, "Covid-19 and the welcome collapse of “professionalism”," 21 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The aerodynamic shape of the homes prevents wind from building up enough pressure on any side, avoiding a structural failure. Fox News, "Round homes and hurricanes: How circular design, emphasis on connections keep these structures standing," 27 May 2020 The shape of the lid also helps keep braising liquid inside the pan. NBC News, "Why Lodge's Cast Iron Skillet is one of the top choices for cooking," 26 May 2020 Sarah, our daughter in Worthington, Ohio, lives on a street in the shape of a loop in a lovely old neighborhood. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "The Brewer family ventures out after 9 weeks of sheltering in place," 25 May 2020 The shape is recognizable but still novel for any Floridian, more likely to have seen gators from above. Monica Uszerowicz, The New York Review of Books, "Picturing Climate Crisis in Miami," 23 May 2020 And that’s my fundamental concern about the shape of their recovery so far. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "The “Glaring Holes” in Congress’s Plan to Stabilize the Economy," 22 May 2020 The edible part of this short, sapling-like tree is its brick-red fruit clusters in the shape of a cone. Kelsey Ogletree, Better Homes & Gardens, "8 Common Weeds in Your Backyard You Can Actually Eat," 21 May 2020 These findings carry important implications for the shape of global climate action, said Leah Stokes, a political scientist with a focus on energy policy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, "Coronavirus shows the limits of what personal choice can do for the climate," 20 May 2020 The company's AlphaFold system is a champion at the art of protein modeling—predicting the shape of tiny structures that make up the virus. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Why Didn't Artificial Intelligence Save Us From Covid-19?," 19 May 2020

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

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shape.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shape. Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for shape

shape

verb
How to pronounce shape (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shape

Spanish Central: Translation of shape

Nglish: Translation of shape for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shape for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shape

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