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 Singing the role of the Father is Rod Gilfry, the composer's baritone of choice since working three years with him to shape the role of Walt Whitman in his first opera, The Crossing. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Eurydice': Theater Review," 5 Feb. 2020 The president’s defense countered that the Democrats have been out to impeach Trump since the start of his presidency, nothing short of an effort to undo the 2016 election and to try to shape the next one. Eric Tucker, BostonGlobe.com, "Democrats aim closing arguments in Trump trial at voters, history," 3 Feb. 2020 The president's defense countered the Democrats have been out to impeach Trump since the start of his presidency, nothing short of an effort to undo the 2016 election and to try to shape the next one, as early primary voting begins Monday in Iowa. Lisa Mascaro, Anchorage Daily News, "Closing arguments in Trump impeachment trial are aimed at voters and historians," 3 Feb. 2020 The surge in musicians implementing green touring could be a sign that the music industry altogether is evolving to reduce its environmental impact - notably the managers, who have the power to shape musicians' touring practices. Nathan Sing, CNN, "From Billie EIlish to Maroon 5, green touring is becoming the new normal," 3 Feb. 2020 Gumm’s mother, Ethel, quickly tried to shape her daughters into stars. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "What Made Judy Garland’s Life So Tragic," 29 Jan. 2020 That’s what stands out from my seventh-grade science class in Brazil, when my teacher gave us an assignment to shape the colorful clay into a model of an embryo. Eduardo Cetlin, STAT, "Science education needs a reboot. LabXchange can help," 22 Jan. 2020 Groundbreaking research on the intersection of climate change and segregation reveals how racist banking practices banned by Congress 52 years ago continue to shape how black and lower-income Americans experience the effects of global warming. Daniel Cusick, Scientific American, "Past Racist “Redlining” Practices Increased Climate Burden on Minority Neighborhoods," 21 Jan. 2020 Not surprisingly, where people have a voice to shape the rules, the outcomes are more likely to feel and be fairer. The Economist, "Guest comment: Robin Varghese and Sarah Pray To neutralise populism, give people more control," 14 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some change shape with penetration and some do not. Gabrielle Canon, USA TODAY, "California could be one of the first states to ban 'virginity testing'," 5 Feb. 2020 The 33-year-old's eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, chin, jaw and facial shape were measured against other male celebs and his came closest to the ratio of perfection. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Robert Pattinson declared 'the most handsome man in the world'," 5 Feb. 2020 That account gives vivid shape to the alarm caused by the outbreak, which developed into a major international public health issue last month after weeks of only a muted response from local authorities. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "‘Avoiding us like we are the virus’: Fear of coronavirus plagues Chinese sex workers," 4 Feb. 2020 No matter how your skin’s moisture barrier has been damaged, the slug life could help get it back in fighting shape. Sara Coughlin, SELF, "Why Skin-Care Reddit Swears By the ‘Slug Life’ Method for Super-Hydrated Skin," 3 Feb. 2020 Patagonia stuffed this jacket with a synthetic insulation that mimics down’s shape and function but stays lofty and dries quickly. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "8 Puffies That Will Keep You Warm All Winter," 2 Feb. 2020 Overwhelmingly, these people identified a square shape in the crater's bright spots. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "AI Will Probably Trick Us Into Thinking We Found Aliens," 2 Feb. 2020 Packed cleverly Russian doll-style, this set takes on an orb shape when put together, with two stoneware serving bowls, one inverted on top of the other, visible to the eye. Shoko Wanger, House Beautiful, "7 Dinner Party Essentials You Can Use All Around the House," 1 Feb. 2020 To replicate that movement, Osler developed and patented a geometric shape that allows omnidirectional rocking. Billy Baker, BostonGlobe.com, "Changing the idea of what a chair should be," 1 Feb. 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

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shape.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shaping. Accessed 19 Feb. 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

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