\ 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

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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

On Monday in London, Murray had a hip resurfacing procedure that shaves the bone and covers it, in a full circle, with cobalt chromium metal. Tom Perrotta, WSJ, "Tennis Star Andy Murray Undergoes Hip Resurfacing Surgery," 29 Jan. 2019 Throughout shooting, crew members kept the illusion alive by unloading anywhere from 14 to 28 tons of snow (which was actually fresh, food-grade shaved ice, like that used in fish markets) every day. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "Hallmark's 'Christmas in Evergreen' Movie Was Filmed in a Village You Can Visit," 18 Nov. 2018 Even in the fashion realm, change is coming in the form of women like Adwoa Aboah who shaved her head back in 2015 and, three years later, landed the cover of British Vogue. Teryn Payne, Teen Vogue, "Nappily Ever After Celebrates the Natural Beauty of Black Women," 21 Sep. 2018 Starting pitchers Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb are living up to their billing as former first-round picks after previous stumbles, solidifying a rotation that has shaved more than a run off last season’s 4.80 ERA. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "'Future is now' for Braves thanks to historic young duo of Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuña Jr.," 23 May 2018 Learn makeup tips and techniques: Now, see the biggest stars who shaved their heads last year: Follow Allure on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter for daily beauty stories delivered right to your inbox. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Is Launching Her Own Beauty Brand, Rose Inc.," 21 May 2018 Alabama was on the verge of overtaking the Rebels again after Alex Reese connected on a three-pointer with 16:19 remaining in regulation that shaved the Tide's deficit to one point, 43-42. Rainer Sabin,, "Alabama falls to Ole Miss, snaps winning streak," 23 Jan. 2018 The next day, Hannah went to school and was escorted by four Merrill Lynch employees who also shaved their heads. Marlisse Cepeda, Woman's Day, "7-Year-Old Shaves Off Long Locks to Support Her 5-Year-Old Sister's Cancer Battle," 28 Oct. 2014 Photo: Getty Corrections & Amplifications The White House Council of Economic Advisers initially said the shutdown would shave 0.1 percentage point off of gross-domestic-product growth every two weeks. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "The U.S. Economy Is Flying Blind With a Sputtering Engine," 17 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

7 Feb 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 \
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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to express emotion in a dramatic way

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