\ ˈshāv How to pronounce shave (audio) \
shaved; shaved or shaven\ ˈshā-​vən How to pronounce shaven (audio) \; 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

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Synonyms for shave

Synonyms: Verb

bob, clip, crop, cut, cut back, dock, lop (off), nip, pare, poll, prune, shear, snip, trim

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ashley has short brown hair that is shaved on the sides. Bianca Hillier, NBC News, "Family’s concerns grow as Army veteran Ashley Meiss remains missing from Kansas," 4 June 2018 He’s shaved more than a run from his ERA, from a season-worst 6.88 to 5.71, and worked with some solid defense on Tuesday. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "Alcides Escobar's homer in 14th gives Royals their first walk-off victory of season," 30 May 2018 Smith's luscious locks are shaved to the nub by the time the electro-rock beat kicks in for the chorus, during which the singer has been transported to a confetti-raining club. Abby Jones, Billboard, "Bastille Has a Wild Night Out In 'Quarter Past Midnight' Video: Watch," 23 May 2018 And this year, after anglers and surveys found the fish were spawning sooner, a month was shaved off the season. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Anglers have fought to protect this fish. So how did it wind up on a Miami Beach menu? | Miami Herald," 15 May 2018 Miranda Brown, The Asbury: White chocolate panna cotta topped with a fennel gel, and pickled shaved fennel and apple relish. Kathleen Purvis, charlotteobserver, "There's something special about the desserts at these 4 Charlotte restaurants. Do you know the secret? | Charlotte Observer," 25 Apr. 2018 Garmin shaved off 3mm from the new device's width and nearly 1mm from its thickness. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Garmin Vivosmart 4 review: An affordable band for easy fitness, SpO2 data," 27 Oct. 2018 Washington slugger Bryce Harper — who’s known for his glorious locks and thick manicured beard — recently shaved off all his facial hair and now looks 10 years younger. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Nationals pitcher dramatically shaves facial hair, time travels back to 1970s," 29 June 2018 Survey respondents predict that the number of full-time staff in their finance function will be cut by 2% in 2019 while the operating budget will be shaved down by 0.2%, according to Hackett. Tatyana Shumsky, WSJ, "Finance Teams Bet Technology Will Bridge Budget Gap," 5 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Pin Adwoa Aboah's cool-girl shave or Imaan Hammam's closely cropped curls to your board for an unexpected style to ring in fall. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "8 Cool Haircut Ideas For Summer Inspired by Hailey Baldwin, Rihanna, and More," 26 July 2018 No word yet on how many men are going without a shave in order to avoid being viewed as toxically masculine Gillette customers. James Freeman, WSJ, "Gillette, Masculinity and ‘Authenticity’," 29 Jan. 2019 Also go for: White sand beaches, cone after cone of shave ice, and some of the best resorts in the world. Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Most Haunted Cities In America and Why You Should Visit," 18 Oct. 2018 Nordstrom’s new Manhattan Men’s Store made a similar bet, integrating in-store tech to bolster a full-service operation, which can include a shave, shoe polish or custom fitting. Rebecca Dolan, WSJ, "How Tech is Drawing Shoppers Back to Bricks-and-Mortar Stores," 12 Sep. 2018 The entire collection's packaging is rose gold and bronze, because #millennial, and includes the usual personal-hygiene staples, like a gentle wash, some cleansing wipes, and a post-shave cream. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "Vagina Makeup Exists, Because This Is the World We Live in Now," 25 July 2017 This helps create a smoother, cleaner shave that reduces irritation and razor burn. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "I Tried David Beckham's House 99 Sharp Cut Shaving Stick on My Legs," 12 Oct. 2018 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for shave

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for shave

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

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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 How to pronounce shave (audio) \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on shave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shave

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shave

Spanish Central: Translation of shave

Nglish: Translation of shave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shave for Arabic Speakers

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marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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