\ˈshāv \
shaved; shaved or shaven\ˈshā-vən \; shaving

Definition of shave 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to remove a thin layer from

b : to cut off in thin layers or shreds : slice

c : to cut off closely

2a : to sever the hair from (the head or another part of the body) close to the roots

b : to cut off (hair or beard) close to the skin

3a : to discount (a note) at an exorbitant rate

b : deduct, reduce

c : to conspire to score fewer (points) than one is capable of (as to affect gambling outcomes)

4 : to come close to or touch lightly in passing

intransitive verb

1 : to cut off hair or beard close to the skin

2 : to proceed with difficulty : scrape



Definition of shave (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : a thin slice : shaving

3 : an act or the process of shaving

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for shave

Synonyms: Verb

brush, graze, kiss, nudge, skim

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of shave in a Sentence


She cut herself while shaving her legs. The sheep were all shaved. He shaves every morning before breakfast. I cut myself shaving this morning. She shaves her dog's fur in the summer. He shaved some butter from the container.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The star opted not to shave her head but instead cut her locks into a long pixie cut. Karen Mizoguchi,, "Bollywood Star Shares Emotional Video of Her Cutting Her Hair Off Before Cancer Treatment," 10 July 2018 Emerging-market stocks rallied Friday to shave a fifth monthly loss. Jeremy Herron,, "Stocks cap quarter with gains, dollar slumps," 29 June 2018 This is likely to shave a few degrees off the highs, which will be mainly in the low 90s. David Streit, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Heating up today but just the prelude to a sultry weekend," 28 June 2018 By this point in his life this most confident of men wore an uncharacteristically grim look, and in addition hadn’t bothered to shave for his trial. Dorothy Rabinowitz, WSJ, "‘A Very English Scandal’ Review: Sex, Intrigue and Bunnies," 28 June 2018 Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman may be the first to shave his mustache. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Astros player shaved his mustache during Sunday's game against Royals," 25 June 2018 Even so, the authorities have still been introducing low-tech tricks to shave further seconds off processing time, such as steering lorries into the inspection sheds with nonverbal notifications. Georgina Voss, The Atlantic, "Brexit Could Cripple Britain’s Ports," 20 June 2018 Theron is almost unrecognizable in Monster, shaving her eyebrows to play the 46-year-old murderer., "Serial Killers Who Inspired Haunting Hollywood Portrayals," 12 July 2018 These spindles are stacked with slices of pork and chicken, pressed, seared crisp on the vertical broiler, and shaved to order by owner Ali Kalatzakis with a buzzing, circular electric knife — a spectacle unto itself. Alex Kiesig, idahostatesman, "'I love this city': Eat your way through the Capital City Public Market," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This one from Philips lasts an hour on a single charge, has a turbo mode for a faster shave, and can be used wet or dry. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "Here are the 5 best Amazon deals right now," 6 June 2018 The chairs in the new Spanish Fly Barbershop in NuLu are more than a place for a trim or a shave. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "NuLu's new barbershop is keeping patrons as fresh as the neighborhood," 10 July 2018 To prevent nicks and possible infection or inflammation in the hair follicles, Marchbein recommends using a sharp razor, and changing out the blade every two to three shaves. Kayleigh Donahue, Allure, "Allure's Guide to Hair Removal From Your Brows to Your Bikini Line," 6 June 2018 More Money: Nordstrom's first NYC store offers cocktails, anytime pick up -- even a shaveMore: Department stores dead? Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Saks Fifth Avenue bets 'magic mirrors,' face workouts will bring online buyers to stores," 29 May 2018 Offering not just a greener alternative but a closer, smoother shave at that is Oui’s old-school, rose gold safety razor. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Why You Should Trade In Your Plastic Razor for This Chic Rose Gold One," 15 Mar. 2018 Made up of aloe, cucumber, and rose oil, this gentle serum can be used as a daily hydrator, after-shave moisturizer, or post-sun treatment. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "11 Cooling Beauty Products That Beat the Heat," 7 July 2018 And arm yourself with a new, multiblade razor every five shaves to get the smoothest results and prevent irritation. Kayleigh Donahue, Allure, "Allure's Guide to Hair Removal From Your Brows to Your Bikini Line," 6 June 2018 The vehicle was unlocked and ear buds and a shave bag were removed. Dan White,, "Davie, Cooper City area crime reports," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shave.' 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 shave


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shave


Middle English, from Old English scafan; akin to Lithuanian skobti to pluck, Latin scabere to scratch, and perhaps to Greek koptein to cut — more at capon

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shave

Phrases Related to shave

shaving cream

shaving foam

Statistics for shave

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shave

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shave



English Language Learners Definition of shave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cut the hair, wool, etc., off (someone or something) very close to the skin

: to cut off (hair, wool, a beard, etc.) very close to the skin

: to remove a thin layer of (something) from something



English Language Learners Definition of shave (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of shaving


\ˈshāv \
shaved; shaved or shaven\ˈshā-vən \; shaving

Kids Definition of shave

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cut or trim off a thin layer of (as with a sharp blade) I shaved the wood from the tip of the pencil.

2 : to cut off very close to the skin He shaved the hair from his head.

3 : to make bare or smooth by cutting the hair from He shaved his face.



Kids Definition of shave (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of making bare or smooth by cutting the hair from

2 : a narrow escape a close shave

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on shave

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


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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