\ ˈshō How to pronounce show (audio) \
showed\ ˈshōd How to pronounce show (audio) \; shown\ ˈshōn How to pronounce show (audio) \ 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
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 regularly distributed program (as on radio, television, or the Internet) She likes to watch "Unwrapped," a Food Network show that goes behind the scenes in the food industry.— Ashley Barron A month ago, the only podcast was "Trade Secrets," a daily news and technology talk show co-hosted by podcasting's pioneers: former MTV VJ Adam Curry and software developer Dave Winer.— Wayne Glowka et al. also : a single episode of such a program I've got time to watch one more show. — Michael Schneider
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 How to pronounce show (audio) \ 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

Examples of show in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun 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 Try This Resume Strategy To Get Through The Applicant Tracking System will show you how to handle that issue. Robin Ryan, Forbes, "Six-Figure Job Hiring Hits Before Pandemic High: How To Land One," 6 Apr. 2021 Weathered by time, the monument used to show details of ferns, tree trunks and branches. Kirsten Fiscus, USA TODAY, "'Anti racist' group claims responsibility for stolen Confederate monument, demands ransom," 6 Apr. 2021 But the Sox are three games past the time to show it., "How worried should we be about the Red Sox’ 0-3 start?," 5 Apr. 2021 Two properties listed for just shy of $3 million — one in the Berkeley hills and another on a Palo Alto cul-de-sac — show us what luxury looks like in the Bay Area, one year into the pandemic. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, "Berkeley versus Palo Alto: What type of home does $3 million get you?," 3 Apr. 2021 The 1500 has a color screen to show you what is going on with the power. Jim Rossman, Dallas News, "Jackery bundle can keep the lights on," 1 Apr. 2021 Note: When the first radishes and snap peas are at their best, make this soup to show them off. Star Tribune, "3 simple plant-based recipes to add to your rotation," 1 Apr. 2021 Or simply the rate at which people move off the list might show it’s working, suggested Robert Leverence, chief medical officer of UT Health San Antonio. Joshua Fechter, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio to create sign-up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments - with limits," 31 Mar. 2021 The early results already show it’s been a successful program, especially in terms of lengths of sentences and automatic remands to prison, said Fiona Doherty, one of the Yale Law School professors who authored the original report. Zach Murdock,, "A new public defender program has ‘professionalized’ Connecticut’s parole process, exciting both advocates and prison officials," 30 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On the second floor, visitors can explore Dante’s literary training, his connection to the origins of the Italian language, a replica of the poet’s bedroom, and a show about the Divine Comedy. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian Magazine, "Follow Dante’s Footsteps Through Italy," 8 Apr. 2021 The residency will run until 2023, with show dates and ticket information will be announced in the coming weeks. Katie Bain, Billboard, "Zedd Announces New Las Vegas Residency: 'Can't Wait To Return'," 7 Apr. 2021 The first episode features an intimate January 2008 show in London. Gary Graff, cleveland, "Fundraisers for Backline and Little Kids Rock top this week’s online concerts," 7 Apr. 2021 This three-day, all-ages, drive-in drag show extravaganza is performed live by Darcelle XV and company while the audience watches from their vehicles. oregonlive, "5 things to do this week: Darcelle XV drive-in, Beaverton Symphony, and Portland Art Museum reopens," 7 Apr. 2021 The writing is loaded with rhetorical emphasis meant to hammer home the stakes of a show in which every character has accepted that dealing death is the price of survival. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Gangs of London Is Your Next Great Crime Watch," 7 Apr. 2021 Between 2001 and 2020, consumer credit-card debt grew by 37% to $819 billion, according to New York Fed data, and credit-card debt sold by banks increased by 87%, Federal Reserve data show. Justin Scheck, WSJ, "Most Big Debt Collectors Backed Off During the Pandemic. One Pressed Ahead.," 7 Apr. 2021 The Riverside itself hasn't had a show since a Foreigner tour stop on March 11, 2020. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Widespread Panic will return to Milwaukee's Riverside Theater for four shows this fall," 7 Apr. 2021 While race/ethnicity was unknown for 7% of deaths, 50% of those who died were white, 29% were Hispanic or Latino, 8% were Native American, 3% were Black and 1% were Asian/Pacific Islander, the state data show. Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona passes 17,000 known COVID-19 deaths in nearly 1 year since state's 1st reported death," 7 Apr. 2021

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

Time Traveler for show

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for show

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Show.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce show (audio) \
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.

Choose the Right Synonym for show


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.


\ ˈshō How to pronounce show (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on show

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for show

Nglish: Translation of show for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of show for Arabic Speakers

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