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[shoh] /ʃoʊ/
verb (used with object), showed, shown or showed, showing.
to cause or allow to be seen; exhibit; display.
to present or perform as a public entertainment or spectacle:
to show a movie.
to indicate; point out:
to show the way.
to guide, escort, or usher:
He showed me to my room. Show her in.
to explain or make clear; make known:
He showed what he meant.
to make known to; inform, instruct, or prove to:
I'll show you what I mean.
to prove; demonstrate:
His experiment showed the falsity of the theory.
to indicate, register, or mark:
The thermometer showed 10 below zero.
to exhibit or offer for sale:
to show a house.
to allege, as in a legal document; plead, as a reason or cause.
to produce, as facts in an affidavit or at a hearing.
to express or make evident by appearance, behavior, speech, etc.:
to show one's feelings.
to accord or grant (favor, kindness, etc.):
He showed mercy in his decision.
verb (used without object), showed, shown or showed, showing.
to be seen; be or become visible:
Does my slip show?
to be seen in a certain way:
to show to advantage.
to put on an exhibition or performance; display one's goods or products:
Several dress designers are showing in New York now.
Informal. to be present or keep an appointment; show up:
He said he would be there, but he didn't show.
to finish third in a horse race, harness race, etc.
a theatrical production, performance, or company.
a radio or television program.
a motion picture.
an exposition for dealers or the public of products by various manufacturers in a particular industry, usually held in an exhibition hall, convention facility, or the like:
the annual boat show.
any kind of public exhibition or exposition:
a show of Renoirs.
ostentatious display:
nothing but mere show.
a display, exhibition, or demonstration:
a true show of freedom.
an indication; trace:
He frowned on the slightest show of emotion.
the position of the competitor who comes in third in a horse race, harness race, etc.
Compare place (def 27b), win1 (def 17).
appearance; impression:
to make a sorry show.
a sight or spectacle.
an unreal or deceptive appearance:
The actress's tears had the show of grief.
an act or instance of showing.
a motion-picture theater.
Informal. a chance:
to get a fair show.
  1. the first appearance of blood at the onset of menstruation.
  2. a blood-tinged mucous discharge from the vagina that indicates the onset of labor.
Chiefly British Informal. any undertaking, group of persons, event, etc.; affair; thing.
Verb phrases
show off,
  1. to display ostentatiously:
    The parade was designed to show off all the latest weapons of war.
  2. to seek to gain attention by displaying prominently one's abilities or accomplishments.
show up,
  1. to make known, as faults; expose; reveal.
  2. to exhibit in a certain way; appear:
    White shows up well against a blue background.
  3. to come to or arrive at a place:
    We waited for two hours, but he didn't show up.
  4. to make (another) seem inferior; outdo.
make a show of, to be ostentatious about; affect:
Whenever there are visitors, the bosses make a show of being nice to their employees.
run the show, to control a business, situation, etc.; be in charge:
My father runs the show in our house.
steal the show,
  1. to usurp the credit or get the applause for something:
    That woman can act, but the child stole the show. He did all the work, but his partner stole the show.
  2. to be the most pleasing or spectacular item or person in a group.
stop the show, to win such enthusiastic applause that a theatrical performance is temporarily interrupted.
Origin of show
before 900; (v.) Middle English showen, s(c)hewen to look at, show, Old English scēawian to look at; cognate with Dutch schowen, German schauen; (noun) Middle English s(c)hew(e), derivative of the v.
Related forms
showable, adjective
showless, adjective
outshow, verb (used with object), outshowed, outshown or outshowed, outshowing.
preshow, adjective, noun, verb (used with object), preshowed, preshown or preshowed, preshowing.
reshow, verb, reshowed, reshown or reshowed, reshowing.
supershow, noun
unshowable, adjective
4. lead, conduct. 5. interpret, clarify, elucidate; reveal, disclose, divulge. 10. assert, affirm. 13. bestow, confer. 23. spectacle. 30. deception, pretense, simulation, illusion.
Synonym Study
24, 25. Show, display, ostentation, pomp suggest the presentation of a more or less elaborate, often pretentious, appearance for the public to see. Show often indicates an external appearance that may or may not accord with actual facts: a show of modesty. Display applies to an intentionally conspicuous show: a great display of wealth. Ostentation is vain, ambitious, pretentious, or offensive display: tasteless and vulgar ostentation. Pomp suggests such a show of dignity and authority as characterizes a ceremony of state: The coronation was carried out with pomp and ceremonial. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for show
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I saw 'em fur years, with a big cuttin' out to show the cross-section.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • "When we are in Athens, I will show you something more beautiful than these," said Pericles.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • I can show you people all right that won't ask to see your union card.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • I can show it to you, if you desire it, in my father's handwriting.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • The horses have not had any water for two days, and show signs of distress.

British Dictionary definitions for show


verb shows, showing, showed, shown, showed
to make, be, or become visible or noticeable: to show one's dislike
(transitive) to present to view; exhibit: he showed me a picture
(transitive) to indicate or explain; prove: to show that the earth moves round the sun
(transitive) to exhibit or present (oneself or itself) in a specific character: to show oneself to be trustworthy
(transitive; foll by how and an infinitive) to instruct by demonstration: show me how to swim
(transitive) to indicate or register: a barometer shows changes in the weather
(transitive) to grant or bestow: to show favour to someone
(intransitive) to appear: to show to advantage
to exhibit, display, or offer (goods, etc) for sale: three artists were showing at the gallery
(transitive) to allege, as in a legal document: to show cause
to present (a play, film, etc) or (of a play, etc) to be presented, as at a theatre or cinema
(transitive) to guide or escort: please show me to my room
show in, to conduct a person into a room or building by opening the door for him
show out, to conduct a person out of a room or building by opening the door for him
(intransitive) to win a place in a horse race, etc
to give a performance of riding and handling (a horse) to display its best points
(intransitive) (informal) to put in an appearance; arrive
a display or exhibition
a public spectacle
an ostentatious or pretentious display
a theatrical or other entertainment
a trace or indication
(obstetrics) a discharge of blood at the onset of labour
(US & Austral, NZ, informal) a chance; opportunity (esp in the phrases give someone a show, he's got no show of winning, etc)
a sporting event consisting of contests in which riders perform different exercises to show their skill and their horses' ability and breeding
(slang, mainly Brit) a thing or affair (esp in the phrases good show, bad show, etc)
(Austral & NZ, mining) a slight indication of the presence of gold
a display of farm animals, with associated competitions
for show, in order to attract attention
(informal) run the show, to take charge of or manage an affair, business, etc
steal the show, to draw the most attention or admiration, esp unexpectedly
(informal) stop the show
  1. (of a stage act, etc) to receive so much applause as to interrupt the performance
  2. to be received with great enthusiasm
See also show off, show up
Word Origin
Old English scēawian; related to Old High German scouwōn to look, Old Norse örskār careful, Greek thuoskoos seer
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for show

Old English sceawian "to look at, see, gaze, behold, observe; inspect, examine; look for, choose," from West Germanic *skauwojan (cf. Old Saxon skauwon "to look at," Old Frisian skawia, Dutch schouwen, Old High German scouwon "to look at;" Dutch schoon, Gothic skaunjai "beautiful," originally "conspicuous"), from Proto-Germanic root *skau- "behold, look at," from PIE *skou-, variant of root *skeue- "to pay attention, perceive" (see caveat).

Causal meaning "let be seen; put in sight, make known" evolved c.1200 for unknown reasons and is unique to English (German schauen still means "look at"). Spelling shew, popular 18c. and surviving into early 19c., represents obsolete pronunciation (rhymes with view). Horse racing sense is from 1903, perhaps from an earlier sense in card-playing.


c.1300, "act of exhibiting to view," from show (v.). Sense of "appearance put on with intention to deceive" is recorded from 1520s. Meaning "display, spectacle" is first recorded 1560s; that of "ostentatious display" is from 1713 (showy is from 1712). Sense of "entertainment program on radio or TV" is first recorded 1932. Meaning "third place in a horse race" is from 1925, American English (see the verb).

Show of hands is attested from 1789; Phrase for show "for appearance's sake" is from c.1700. Show business is attested from 1850; shortened form show biz used in "Billboard" from 1942. Actor's creed the show must go on is attested from 1890. Show-stopper is from 1926; show trial first recorded 1937.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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show in Medicine

show (shō)

  1. The first discharge of blood in menstruation.

  2. The discharge of bloody mucus from the vagina indicating the start of labor.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for show



To arrive; appear; show up: You suppose he'll show? (1300+)

Related Terms

cattle show, grind show, kid show, let's get the show on the road, no-show, one-man show, peep show

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with show
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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