\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

So far, Pininfarina has only shown teaser images of the vehicle, which reveal a low car with the wheels pushed out the corners (a design allowed by using electric motors instead of an engine and driveshafts) and little else. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "Pininfarina's Back With a $2 Million Electric Hypercar," 14 July 2018 Foxes, snakes, birds, chickens, monkeys, cougars, and coyotes have all shown the ability to live in cities. Aditi Shrikant,, "When wild animals urbanize," 13 July 2018 Juventus have shown interest in signing him before and may do so again., "Real Madrid Star Linked With Juventus Move After Promise of Cristiano Ronaldo Reunion," 13 July 2018 In his dozen years as an appellate judge, Mr Kavanaugh has shown a willingness to curtail federal agencies. The Economist, "Brett Kavanaugh could shape the law for the next 40 years," 12 July 2018 Polling has consistently shown Americans believe the opioid crisis should be a high priority for the federal government. Lev Facher, STAT, "System for reporting suspicious opioid orders repeatedly failed, report finds," 12 July 2018 Previous research has shown that dads eligible for paternity are more likely to pitch in on chores like shopping and cooking later on. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "Oprah Winfrey Empire, Angela Merkel, Paternity Leave: Broadsheet July 12th," 12 July 2018 Moving from bench coach to the manager’s seat, Riggleman has shown some differences from Price. Bobby Nightengale,, "Jim Riggleman shows his own style of managing in interim role with Cincinnati Reds," 12 July 2018 And studies have shown that satiereal suppresses the appetites of rats., "The Problem With Those Appetite-Suppressant Lollipops Kim Kardashian Is Advertising," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And that's not getting into my general distaste for the show at this point. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter, "THR's TV Critics Debate the Highs and Lows of the 2018 Emmy Nominations," 12 July 2018 But nope, nothing for former winner Claire Danes or for the show itself. Matthew Gilbert,, "Emmy nominations: surprises, savvy picks, and a few slights," 12 July 2018 In September, Tveidt came to Alaska to film the segment for the show. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "An Anchorage newborn was found abandoned in a cardboard box 32 years ago. Against the odds, he found his biological father.," 12 July 2018 The Black Bee Honey teens gathered at the DoubleTree Hotel on Lake Ivanhoe with supporters and community leaders for a watch party for the show Wednesday and also presented the audience with the company’s story. Ryan Gillespie,, "Steve Harvey appearance nets Orlando teens' Black Bee Honey sweet national deal," 11 July 2018 Two fires broke out during the fireworks display, according to Kyle Constable of Hartford, who was in Middletown for the show. David Owens,, "Middletown Fireworks End Early As Barge Catches Fire," 8 July 2018 This is about as big a theme for a show of paintings as ever there was. Peter Plagens, WSJ, "‘Chaos and Awe: Painting for the 21st Century’ Review: Trying to Corral the Uncorralable," 7 July 2018 Zoellner is unsure how many people — if any — stuck around for the show. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "Fireworks rescheduled in south suburbs after storms," 5 July 2018 That’s what the longing looks like for a show that, like Big Little Lies, is based on a bestselling murder mystery, with A-list talent. Ellen Gray,, "'Sharp Objects' with Amy Adams isn't another 'Big Little Lies' (and it shouldn't have to be)," 5 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

6 Nov 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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