\ ˈshō How to pronounce show (audio) \
showed\ ˈshōd How to pronounce showed (audio) \; shown\ ˈshōn How to pronounce shown (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 lawshow 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
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 showable (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 Guests must show knowledge of the equipment or tool before using it. cleveland, "COVID-19 is not going to scare away Halloween events: Short Takes on Avon, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville," 19 Sep. 2020 But as the decennial count hurtles to a close on September 30, interviews by Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism show the Census Bureau’s system for registering and tracking responses was plagued by problems. USA TODAY, "Puerto Rico residents say they answered 2020 census. The government says otherwise -- over and over again.," 19 Sep. 2020 The covers are usually not needed once the plants show their colorful bracts. Tom Maccubbin,, "Here are the best times to plant watermelon seeds," 19 Sep. 2020 Human rights groups have warned that such arrests show that Abiy's political reforms are slipping. Elias Meseret, Star Tribune, "Ethiopia charges prominent opposition figure with terrorism," 19 Sep. 2020 These can help show whether cells or tissues are expressing multiple genes, for example, or expressing one more highly that may be associated with a particular cancer, like HER2 and breast cancer or EGFR with lung cancer. Courtney Sexton, Smithsonian Magazine, "Could Tattoo Ink Be Used to Detect Cancer?," 18 Sep. 2020 Though state polls show Democratic nominee Joe Biden narrowly leading in Wisconsin, Trump has continued to make multiple campaign stops in the state throughout the election cycle. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'He helped the Trump campaign': Democrats turn on Wisconsin governor after response to Kenosha," 18 Sep. 2020 Both President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are fighting Friday for votes in Minnesota, where polls show Biden with a solid lead, reports CBS News political correspondent Ed O'Keefe. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Trump and Biden both battle it out in Minnesota," 18 Sep. 2020 Even though polls show Trump trailing Democrat Joe Biden among likely voters, McDaniel remains confident that Republicans can win here in the fall. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'We're going to be in your state all the time': RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel rallies GOP volunteers in Germantown," 18 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The group then went on to list several other members who worked on the show before wrapping up their video. Georgia Slater,, "Amy Schumer Shares Emmy Acceptance Speech If Her Cooking Show Had Won, Loses to Cheer," 20 Sep. 2020 Originally written by Andrew Gold, the version featured on the show is a cover recorded by Cynthia Fee. Joseph Neese, House Beautiful, "This New Book Will Teach You How to Crochet All Four of 'The Golden Girls'," 19 Sep. 2020 Klacik, a longshot candidate running for the seat long held by the late Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, was questioned by Behar on the morning show about the coronavirus pandemic in which nearly 200,000 Americans have died. Jeff Barker,, "“The View” segment with Maryland Republican Kimberly Klacik ends abruptly after she says host Joy Behar 'paraded around in blackface’," 18 Sep. 2020 For all the glamor, artistry, and accounting that goes into an awards show, things don’t always go smoothly. Ew Staff,, "Nine times Emmy honors have been revoked or rescinded," 18 Sep. 2020 Tyler was behind on the show and wanted to watch something else. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "All-in: Zack Martin is taking the same approach to fatherhood that made him one of the best guards in the NFL," 18 Sep. 2020 As Klacik attempted to rebut Hostin amid the shouting, Behar quickly wrapped up the interview and thanked the Maryland candidate for appearing on the show. DONALD TRUMP JR. Fox News, "'The View' goes off the rails after Kim Klacik calls out Joy Behar for 'parading in blackface'," 18 Sep. 2020 He was known throughout the community for many decades as the manager of and morning show personality at WPAY Radio. Bob Strickley, The Enquirer, "My friend Frank: A glimpse at a remarkable career in local journalism," 17 Sep. 2020 Doocy then extended an invite to Biden to call into the show as well. Ryan Teague Beckwith,, "Biden Plans to Fact-Check Trump at Debate: Campaign Update," 15 Sep. 2020

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

22 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Show.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for show


How to pronounce show (audio)

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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