\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Thinly shave stalks crosswise on a mandoline, about the thickness of a coin. Sarah Karnasiewicz, WSJ, 6 May 2022 The White House has argued that the use of E15 can shave 10 cents off each gallon of gasoline. Jeff Stein And Evan Halper, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Apr. 2022 Around his trip to the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile earlier this month, Jones has worked at Bommarito Performance Systems in South Florida seeking to refine his natural speed and shave a few hundredths of a second off his 40 time. Mark Inabinett |, al, 2 Mar. 2022 Putting $3,000 towards that debt could shave over 4 years off the payoff date and save over $3k in interest. Erik Carter, Forbes, 25 Apr. 2022 Parting ways with Flowers would shave $10.386 million off Detroit’s salary-cap obligations for 2022. Mark Inabinett |, al, 15 Mar. 2022 Flu viruses hospitalize tens of thousands of Americans annually; bolder test-and-treat protocols would almost certainly shave some cases off that toll. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 1 Mar. 2022 The introduction of a circular economy will shave energy use, too. Paul Hockenos, CNN, 23 Feb. 2022 Johnson’s decision to end isolation requirements could shave a couple of days off the queen’s withdrawal from public life. Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The second is to use a shaving cream that’s moisturizing and foamy enough for a clean shave. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 May 2022 Featuring a moisturizer attachment from Olay, each shave leaves you with dolphin-smooth skin. ELLE, 5 May 2022 Ahead are the 11 best electric razors for a silky-smooth shave. ELLE, 5 May 2022 But selecting the right shaving cream for the best shave doesn’t have to be complicated or take up a lot of your precious time. Rachel Dube, SELF, 13 Apr. 2022 The result is a closer shave with fewer cuts and nicks. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Mar. 2022 Re-moisten skin with a warm, wet towel and apply a shave cream. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Mar. 2022 Even the best razor won’t give you a close, smooth shave forever. Marygrace Taylor, SELF, 22 Jan. 2022 The result: less risk of ingrown hairs, smoother skin and a damn good shave. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, 30 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for shave


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on shave

Nglish: Translation of shave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shave for Arabic Speakers


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