\ 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

Harington, who had shaved his beard before the episode, had to wear fake facial hair. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kit Harington Spoofs Game of Thrones Spinoffs on Saturday Night Live," 8 Apr. 2019 However, given the company’s market share, every man who shaves is at risk. James Freeman, WSJ, "Are Gillette’s Customers More Toxic than its Management?," 15 Jan. 2019 Zack Godley got it high and tight up top and shaved his face. Greg Moore, azcentral, "Moore: Arizona Diamondbacks find key to get back to winning – by relaxing," 31 May 2018 My last day of shaving my face completely was July 25, 2014. Meredith Clark, Allure, "5 Women With PCOS Explain Why They Choose to Celebrate Their Facial Hair," 29 May 2018 New materials, especially composites and fabrics, can shave weight and extend an astronaut’s range of movement. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Are We Reaching the End of Spacewalks?," 21 May 2019 Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa — aka Khal Drogo — just shaved off his famous beard, and naturally, fans of the hit HBO show are in a frenzy. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa Shaved His Iconic Beard, and Fans Are in a Frenzy," 18 Apr. 2019 Kit Harington shaved his beard before appearing on Saturday Night Live this weekend and sent some Game of Thrones fans into a freakout. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Some People Are Dragging Kit Harington for Shaving His Beard," 8 Apr. 2019 Actor Jason Momoa—who played both Aquaman and Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones—just posted a video on Youtube showing himself shaving off his famous beard. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jason Momoa Just Shaved His Beard and We Don't Know How to Feel," 18 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The limited-edition set retails for $27, and includes the razor, a full-size shave cream, and a super cute zip pouch that can be repurposed as a travel toiletry bag. Karina Hoshikawa,, "You Can Now Buy Billie Razors At Madewell," 5 June 2019 Lost in the antiwool fervor, proponents of the fiber say, is that a happy sheep is one getting a regular shave. Sarah Nassauer, WSJ, "Fiber Optics: Wool Lovers Battle Animal-Rights Crowd Over Sheep Shearing," 7 Jan. 2019 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

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

13 Jun 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

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).


to take the place or position of

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