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

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Examples of shave in a Sentence

Verb 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 But Open Treatments could shave years off the drug development timeline, Samulski believes. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "Software engineer bets on technology to help speed rare disease treatments," 31 Mar. 2021 In Competition trim, the M4 gets a big bump in horsepower and torque (30 hp and 73 lb-ft), enough to shave three-tenths off the M4 Coupe’s 0-60 mph acceleration. Dan Neil, WSJ, "BMW M4 Coupe: A Two-Door That Roars," 13 Mar. 2021 The information can be used to help players shave seconds off their sprint times or learn about unintentional body movements that hurt their performance. Washington Post, "NFL hopefuls use AI for a leg up ahead of pre-draft season," 5 Mar. 2021 While shaving, resist pulling your skin taut and always shave in the direction of your hair growth. Ana Sanchez,, "How to get rid of ingrown hairs," 28 Feb. 2021 Pre-shave exfoliation is my personal secret to preventing razor burn on my incredibly sensitive skin. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Question: How Often Should You Exfoliate Your Face?," 22 Feb. 2021 San Diego State University is seeking to shave hundreds of millions of dollars off development costs associated with the office portion of its planned Mission Valley campus. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, "SDSU considering layout change for Mission Valley campus," 19 Feb. 2021 Stop for a meal, snack, or shave ice and enjoy the view. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "Maui Travel Guide," 2 Mar. 2021 This essential oil blend is a fantastic follow up for those who shave or wax. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, "The Best Essentials For His Daily Routine," 26 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Be sure to use a lubricating shave gel or cream and don't pass your razor twice over one spot. Ana Sanchez,, "How to get rid of ingrown hairs," 28 Feb. 2021 In scenes from India, Karine Bizard captures a close-up of an intense-looking man getting a shave along the banks of the Ganges, while in Pushkar, Dimpy Bhalotia observes an elegant pattern of birds over the shoulder of a man and his camel. Ann Levin, Star Tribune, "Review: 100 women use their cameras to capture public life.," 8 Mar. 2021 The ingenious in-line shaving device provides an easy back of the neck shave in less than 60 seconds with no assistance or additional mirrors needed, giving the well-groomed man that ‘fresh from the barber’ look every day. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, "The Best Essentials For His Daily Routine," 26 Feb. 2021 But the young men are persuasive and optimistic, planning even bigger families with their pretty fidanzate; one man runs to the barber for a shave to please his girl as the doctor gets ready and a mule is found. Tim Parks, The New York Review of Books, "Characters in Search of a Conflict," 23 Feb. 2021 The plant-based, vegan formula can be worked into a creamy lather for the closest shave. David Syrek,, "If you fantasize about becoming a morning person, here are 5 great ways to wake up your routine.," 22 Jan. 2021 Not long after his train pulled in to the New Jersey Avenue Station, Revels, wearing a black suit and a neat beard beneath cheekbones fresh from a shave, was greeted by a rhapsodic Black public. New York Times, "Raphael Warnock and the Solitude of the Black Senator," 20 Jan. 2021 Some higher-end brands may promise the closest shave ever, but keep your expectations in check. Jeremy Helligar, Popular Science, "Best electric shaver: Get a smooth shave with our picks," 18 Dec. 2020 Sy Sperling got out of the game in 2000, just at the dawn of the power shave. Reginald Dwayne Betts Kiese Makeba Laymon Carina Del Valle Schorske Dessa Irina Aleksander Sam Dolnick Mark Binelli Maggie Jones Rob Hoerburger Jamie Lauren Keiles Devin Gordon Jazmine Hughes Jenna Wortham Jade Chang Taffy Brodesser-akner Kaitlyn Greenidge Rowan Ricardo Phillips Michael Paterniti Wesley Morris Ismail Muhammad Anthony Giardina, New York Times, "Remembering some of the artists, innovators and thinkers we lost in the past year.," 23 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for shave

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for shave

Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shave

Nglish: Translation of shave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shave for Arabic Speakers

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