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

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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

The Ghanaian artist covered the entire structure in weathered jute sacks, a crude but durable material evocative of the global flow of both goods and people, which has for so long shaped this cosmopolitan city. Max Maeckler, Vogue, "The Most Mesmerizing Design Moments of Salone del Mobile," 18 Apr. 2019 One of the most crucial elements of any planetary exploration is the landing site, which often shapes the nature of the mission. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "To Understand How the Earth Formed, and How It Might Disappear, NASA Is Drilling on Mars," 21 Feb. 2019 The rainwater would have quickly run off over the surface, shaping the network of valleys. Nola Taylor Redd, Space.com, "Geometry Helps Solve the Mystery of Mars' Water," 13 July 2018 That cosmic cataclysm changed the Milky Way’s structure forever, shaping the thick spirals that spin out from the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s core. Ramin Skibba, WIRED, "This Galactic Collision Shaped the History of the Milky Way," 8 July 2018 In prioritizing judicial nominees to courts of appeal, Trump is seeking to leave his mark on an influential tier of the legal system that plays a big role in shaping U.S. law. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "Think President Trump Is About to Remake the Federal Judiciary? To Some Degree, He Already Has," 8 July 2018 More than 40 federal district and circuit court judges have been confirmed to lifetime appointments so far during Trump's term, and those judges will have enormous sway in shaping legal arguments nationwide. CBS News, "Man on a mission: Mitch McConnell's effort to reshape the courts," 7 July 2018 At every stop, we were awed by the scenery, from the astonishing palette of earthy hues to the stone shapes etching land and sky. Beth J. Harpaz, chicagotribune.com, "Badlands and history in Theodore Roosevelt National Park," 5 July 2018 At The Bitter Southerner, Michael Adno profiles renovator and land developer David Wolkowsky, age 98, whose particular brand of charm, philanthropy, joie de vivre, and camp has permanently shaped Key West, Florida’s unique allure. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "The Town That Camp Built," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The shape is full, belling out slightly at the bottom. Glamour, "Are You Wearing the Right Bra for Your Breast Type?," 28 Mar. 2019 The designers control what the rough shape of the ceramic will be by programming code into the printer. Diana Budds, Curbed, "The most bizarre and brilliant projects from a Dutch design fair," 5 Nov. 2018 The creepy-cool shape is a perfect fit for the fall holiday (and a bit more practical than those scream-worthy skull logs that were all the rage last year). Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Those Himalayan Salt Lamps Everyone's Obsessed With Now Come in Skull Form," 25 Sep. 2018 That increased blood flow can cause the labia to darken and even cause a slight change in shape. Kristi Kellogg, Glamour, "Your Vagina After Birth: 10 Things to Expect," 29 Apr. 2019 The long-time-coming capsule is the result, as TVF tells it, of the Diane von Furstenberg brand being back in tip-top shape after several years of personnel changes. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Talita von Furstenberg Joins the Family Business With Her New Brand, TVF for DVF," 23 Apr. 2019 Eve panicked, and ran to look for something to help Villanelle's wound, leaving the assassin free to escape—albeit in pretty bad shape. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "A Quick Recap of Killing Eve Season One, Before the Hit Show Returns," 5 Apr. 2019 This often increased the load individual soldiers carried to one hundred or more pounds, dramatically limiting the mobility of soldiers who are otherwise athletic and in great shape. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Grizzly Is a Rugged Tank Robot That Could Carry a Soldier’s Stuff," 29 Mar. 2019 Those sectors that are in bad shape still aren’t in nearly as bad condition as steel and coal were in 2015 and 2016. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "The Missing Chinese Bond Apocalypse," 28 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.

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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

16 May 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 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

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

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