adjective, shape·li·er, shape·li·est.

having a pleasing shape, especially with reference to a woman's figure.

Origin of shapely

1325–75; shape + -ly; replacing Middle English shaply, schaply; compare Old English gesceaplīce (adv.) fitly
Related formsshape·li·ness, nounun·shape·li·ness, nounun·shape·ly, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shapely

Contemporary Examples of shapely

Historical Examples of shapely

  • A shapely one he is, and strong, as e'er from cast was cast.

  • The hands and wrists of this lady were very white and shapely.

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

  • A slight shake of Edith's small, shapely head served for answer.

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

  • Even her hands, reddened and calloused by labor, were well kept and shapely.

  • She did not raise her shapely head, but her glance was no dream thing.


    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for shapely


adjective -lier or -liest

(esp of a woman's body or legs) pleasing or attractive in shape
Derived Formsshapeliness, noun
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

Word Origin and History for shapely

"well-formed, having a regular and pleasing shape," late 14c., from shape (n.) + -ly (1). Related: Shapeliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper