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 shape (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 Plus) This five-part series highlights the natural forces that shape our environment and its inhabitants. Washington Post, "What to watch on Monday: ‘A Perfect Planet’ on Discovery Plus," 4 Jan. 2021 Lying expertly unravels the small but weighty interactions that shape us. The Atlantic Culture Desk, The Atlantic, "The 15 Best Books of 2020," 24 Dec. 2020 An attending physician responded with advice that would shape her professional outlook. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, "As COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Alaska, the state’s top doctor reflects on ‘a big changing point’ in pandemic," 22 Dec. 2020 Ten world-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people and events that shape the present day. Los Angeles Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, "Here’s what’s screening at the Sundance Film Festival 2021," 15 Dec. 2020 Biden traveled to Georgia to campaign for Democratic senatorial candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock ahead of twin runoff races that will undoubtedly shape his administration. Barnini Chakraborty, Washington Examiner, "Biden knocks Georgia GOP candidates Perdue and Loeffler for their support of Trump," 15 Dec. 2020 The elections are demonstrating that there have been many groups of people that have been ready to be a part of the conversations that shape institutional change. New York Times, "The Blue Flame of ‘Hotlanta’," 12 Dec. 2020 Traditional coil innerspring construction mattresses have evolved, and modern mattresses offer advanced foam materials that can literally shape around our bodies. Eric Alt, Popular Science, "Best mattress for your body and budget: Five things to consider," 8 Dec. 2020 Intransigence and comity alike are performances staged atop the skewed political structures that actually shape substantive outcomes. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Congress’s Theater of Compromise and the Death of Covid Relief," 8 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Day after day, Lyles played three-on-three either after practice or during warmups to keep in game shape. Tom Orsborn, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio Spurs’ Trey Lyles earns praise for being ready to go Sunday night," 11 Jan. 2021 Phrases sometimes needed more expressive shape and direction, although the ensemble lent a nice graceful lilt to folksy dances. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Review: Violinist Stefan Jackiw exuded refined nobility at Fort Worth Symphony concert," 9 Jan. 2021 While the Supreme Court hears only about 100 to 150 cases annually, the 13 federal appeals courts around the country hear thousands of the most consequential cases every year that shape laws and affect the rights of millions of Americans. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "Trump's judicial appointments will impact LGBTQ rights far beyond presidency, group says," 5 Jan. 2021 Utensil drawers are typically chaotic because, well, utensils come in every shape and size. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "35 products to organize every corner of your home," 5 Jan. 2021 Hers was in black, and the shape was decidedly more structured, too. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Katie Holmes Revives the Baker Boy Cap," 5 Jan. 2021 The logo, 18 months in the making, replaces the oval, pill-like shape that had enclosed the Pfizer name since 1948 with a helix design to the left of the company name. Alexandra Bruell, WSJ, "Pfizer Introduces New Logo Playing Up Role in Drug Creation," 5 Jan. 2021 The shape can affect how well the suspenders stay on your shoulders, so choose what's best for you. The Editors, Field & Stream, "3 Keys to Buying a Pair of Men’s Suspenders," 5 Jan. 2021 But more than faces, the detailed shape of our bodies can feel revealing and personal. Washington Post, "For Amazon’s $25 custom T-shirt, your body is a wonderland (of data)," 5 Jan. 2021

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

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shape.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shape. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on shape

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