\ ˈshō \
showed\ˈshōd \; shown\ˈshōn \ or showed; showing

Definition of show 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cause or permit to be seen : exhibit showed pictures of the baby

2 : to offer for sale stores were showing new spring suits

3 : to present as a public spectacle : perform

4 : to reveal by one's condition, nature, or behavior showed themselves to be cowards

5 : to give indication or record of an anemometer shows wind speed

6a : to point out : direct attention to showed the view from the terrace

b : conduct, usher showed me to an aisle seat

7 : accord, bestow shows them no mercy

8a : to set forth : declare

b : allege, plead used especially in law show cause

9a : to demonstrate or establish by argument or reasoning show a plan to be faulty

b : inform, instruct showed me how to solve the problem

10 : to present (an animal) for judging in a show

intransitive verb

1a : to be or come in view 3:15 showed on the clock

b : to put in an appearance failed to show

2a : to appear in a particular way anger showed in their faces

b : seem, appear

3a : to give a theatrical performance

b : to be staged or presented

4a : to appear as a contestant

b : to present an animal in a show

5 : to finish third or at least third (as in a horse race)

6 : to exhibit one's artistic work

show one's hand or less commonly show one's cards

1 : to display one's cards faceup

2 : to declare one's intentions or reveal one's resources

show one the door

: to tell someone to get out also : fire sense 2b


noun, often attributive

Definition of show (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a demonstrative display a show of strength

2a archaic : outward appearance

b : a false semblance : pretense made a show of friendship

c : a more or less true appearance of something : sign

d : an impressive display his role as househusband … was purely for show —John Lahr

e : ostentation

3 : chance sense 2 gave him a show in spite of his background

4 : something exhibited especially for wonder or ridicule : spectacle

5a : a large display or exhibition arranged to arouse interest or stimulate sales the national auto show

b : a competitive exhibition of animals (such as dogs) to demonstrate quality in breeding

6a : a theatrical presentation

b : a radio or television program

c : entertainment sense 3b(1)

7 : enterprise, affair they ran the whole show

8 : third place at the finish (as of a horse race)

9 often capitalized : the major leagues in baseball used with the

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Other words from show


showable \ˈshō-ə-bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for show


show, exhibit, display, expose, parade, flaunt mean to present so as to invite notice or attention. show implies no more than enabling another to see or examine. showed her snapshots to the whole group exhibit stresses putting forward prominently or openly. exhibit paintings at a gallery display emphasizes putting in a position where others may see to advantage. display sale items expose suggests bringing forth from concealment and displaying. sought to expose the hypocrisy of the town fathers parade implies an ostentatious or arrogant displaying. parading their piety for all to see flaunt suggests a shameless, boastful, often offensive parading. nouveaux riches flaunting their wealth

show, manifest, evidence, evince, demonstrate mean to reveal outwardly or make apparent. show is the general term but sometimes implies that what is revealed must be gained by inference from acts, looks, or words. careful not to show his true feelings manifest implies a plainer, more immediate revelation. manifested musical ability at an early age evidence suggests serving as proof of the actuality or existence of something. a commitment evidenced by years of loyal service evince implies a showing by outward marks or signs. evinced not the slightest fear demonstrate implies showing by action or by display of feeling. demonstrated their approval by loud applause


show, exhibit, and parade mean to present something so that it will attract attention. show is used of letting another see or examine. Show me a picture of your family. exhibit is used of putting something out for public viewing. The children exhibited their drawings at the fair. parade is used of making a great show of something. Look at them parading their new bikes.

Examples of show in a Sentence


You have to show your tickets at the gate. You're the only person that I've shown this letter to. They showed the theory to be faulty. You will have to show me how to play the game. He showed them a card trick. Definitions tell you the meanings of words; examples show you how the words are used.


She was the star of the show. The band always puts on a good show. a show of his early paintings
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Eight years after Google first showed its self-driving car to The New York Times, the autonomous vehicle industry is still trying to figure out how to talk about itself. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Home From the Honeymoon, the Self-Driving Car Industry Faces Reality," 13 July 2018 In an anomaly revealing discrepancies in national trade data, U.S. figures report a U.S. trade surplus with the U.K., while British figures show a U.K. surplus. Stephen Fidler, WSJ, "Trump’s Criticism of May’s Brexit Plan Zeroes In on Trade Reality," 13 July 2018 Jessada also said a psychiatrist was attending to the boys, who are sleeping well and are not showing symptoms of stress. Fox News, "Mission accomplished and boys healthy, rescuers head home," 13 July 2018 This isn't good, because even if the results show nothing scary, the biopsy itself meant immediately and permanently changing the appearance of my beloved mole. Marci Robin, Allure, "Beauty Mark Makeover: Why I Chose to Reduce the Size of My Mole Instead of Getting It Removed," 13 July 2018 Other communities have shown similar interest in the sport. Gary Gibula, Naperville Sun, "Naperville answering demand for pickleball with new courts at Nike Complex, Southwest Park," 14 July 2018 But what the statistics can't show is how perceptions shape who applies for admission. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Retro UW-Madison delivery van hits road with myth-busting facts, Babcock ice cream," 13 July 2018 Previously Spiegel and colleagues showed that social support through weekly group therapy prolonged survival in women with metastatic breast cancer. Esther Landhuis, Scientific American, "Could Brain Stimulation Slow Cancer?," 13 July 2018 One of the youngest regulars at the Class AA level, the 19-year-old righty hitter has always shown big power for his age and is reputed as both a capable defender at shortstop and a team leader with precocious baseball intelligence. 2. Ted Berg, For The Win, "7 MLB prospects to watch at the 2018 Futures Game," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Chris Kattan, who was on the show from 1996-2003, gave the world Mr. Peepers, Mango, and one of the head-bobbing Butabi Brothers. Christopher Arnott,, "Comedy Round-Up: SNL Veterans, Michael Blackson, Sea Tea Wrestling Match," 14 July 2018 The fourth edition of the show then travels to Jordan where inspiring businesses like the Sharqi shop, set up by Syrian Saleem Najjar, lead the way to a hip hub in the country. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Weatherford finally sells its Middle East land rig business," 12 July 2018 Mr Trump explained the quid pro quo at the heart of the show. The Economist, "Donald Trump insists on trade reciprocity. But what kind?," 12 July 2018 His size, physicality and athleticism have been consistently on show, and Mina could now be set for another big move., "West Ham Join Everton and Liverpool in Race for Barcelona Defender After Impressive World Cup," 11 July 2018 If weather forces cancellation of the show, it will be held on Sunday, July 8. Courant Community, "Community News For The Stafford Edition," 10 July 2018 They are rarely exposed to the sort of divergent systems on show at the World Cup. Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "The Premier League’s World Cup Takeover," 8 July 2018 Once a year, the bucolic grounds of Goodwood House in West Sussex, England, are consumed by the smell of exhaust fumes, the sound of engines revving, and an excited crowd of 100,000 people, all wanting a look at the special cars on show. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "A Racing Robocar Takes On England's Swankiest Track," 7 July 2018 Debbie leverages her star power in the ring into a producer role on the show. Bonnie Stiernberg, Glamour, "If Betty Gilpin Doesn't Get an Emmy for GLOW, It's a Crime," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'show.' 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 show


12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for show


Middle English shewen, showen, from Old English scēawian to look, look at, see; akin to Old High German scouwōn to look, look at, and probably to Latin cavēre to be on one's guard

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Learn More about show

Statistics for show

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for show

The first known use of show was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for show



English Language Learners Definition of show

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause or allow (something) to be seen

: to give information that proves (something)

: to teach (someone) how to do or use something especially by letting that person see you do or use it



English Language Learners Definition of show (Entry 2 of 2)

: a performance in a theater that usually includes singing and dancing

: a public performance that is intended to entertain people

: a television or radio program


\ ˈshō \
showed; shown\ˈshōn \ or showed; showing

Kids Definition of show

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to place in sight : display She showed everyone her pictures.

2 : reveal sense 2 They showed themselves to be cowards.

3 : to make known They showed their support.

4 : to give as appropriate treatment Show them no mercy. Show some respect.

5 : teach sense 1, instruct She showed him how to solve the problem.

6 : prove sense 1 That shows we're right.

7 : to lead to a place : direct I showed them to the door.

8 : to point out to Show me where it hurts.

9 : to be easily seen or noticed The stain hardly shows. Determination showed in her face.

show off

: to make an obvious display of a person's own abilities or possessions in order to impress others

show up

: appear sense 2 He didn't show up for work today.



Kids Definition of show (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a public performance intended to entertain people a puppet show a musical show

2 : a television or radio program

3 : an event at which things of the same kind are put on display a fashion show

4 : a display to make known a feeling or quality a show of strength She answered with some show of alarm.

5 : an appearance meant to deceive He made a great show of friendship.


\ ˈshō \

Medical Definition of show 

1 : a discharge of mucus streaked with blood from the vagina at the onset of labor

2 : the first appearance of blood in a menstrual period

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showed; shown or showed; showing

Legal Definition of show 

: to demonstrate or establish by argument, reasoning, or evidence must show a compelling need for the court action

show cause

: to establish by reasoning and evidence a valid reason for something if a debtor wishes to extend a plan beyond three years, he must show cause —J. H. Williamson must show cause why the petition may not be granted

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Comments on show

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an open space surrounded by woods

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