- the quality of a distinct object or body in having an external surface or outline of specific form or figure.
- this quality as found in some individual object or body form: This lake has a peculiar shape.
- something seen in outline, as in silhouette: A vague shape appeared through the mist.
- an imaginary form; phantom.
- an assumed appearance; guise: an angel in the shape of a woman.
- a particular or definite organized form or expression: He could give no shape to his ideas.
- proper form; orderly arrangement.
- condition or state of repair: The old house was in bad shape. He was sick last year, but is in good shape now.
- the collective conditions forming a way of life or mode of existence: What will the shape of the future be?
- the figure, physique, or body of a person, especially of a woman: A dancer can keep her shape longer than those of us who have sedentary jobs.
- something used to give form, as a mold or a pattern.
- Also called section. Building Trades, Metalworking. a flanged metal beam or bar of uniform section, as a channel iron, I-beam, etc.
- Nautical. a ball, cone, drum, etc., used as a day signal, singly or in combinations, to designate a vessel at anchor or engaged in some particular operation.
- to give definite form, shape, organization, or character to; fashion or form.
- to couch or express in words: to shape a statement.
- to adjust; adapt: He shaped everything to suit his taste.
- to direct (one's course, future, etc.).
- to file the teeth of (a saw) to uniform width after jointing.
- Animal Behavior, Psychology. to teach (a desired behavior) to a human or other animal by successively rewarding the actions that more and more closely approximate that behavior.
- Obsolete. to appoint; decree.
- to come to a desired conclusion or take place in a specified way: If discussions shape properly, the companies will merge.
- shape up,
- to assume a specific form: The plan is beginning to shape up.
- to evolve or develop, especially favorably.
- to improve one's behavior or performance to meet a required standard.
- to get oneself into good physical condition.
- (of longshoremen) to get into a line or formation in order to be assigned the day's work.
- take shape, to assume a fixed form; become definite: The house is beginning to take shape.
Origin of shape
Synonyms for shapeSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe.
Related Words for shapesbody, silhouette, outline, format, pattern, frame, shadow, architecture, aspect, model, configuration, contour, fashion, carve, construct, embody, produce, build, forge, mold
Examples from the Web for shapes
Contemporary Examples of shapes
Thinking about, with all that is in the past and the way it shapes the present, how do you go forward into the future?Tony Earley's Imaginary Friends
September 2, 2014
Peggy has a reputation for miraculously fitting women of all shapes and sizes, and she more than lives up to it.New York's Sexiest Kosher Corsets
August 20, 2014
Who shapes what the public comes to see as truth, and how truthful is that truth?How the ‘Witch Hunt’ Myth Undermined American Justice
July 12, 2014
It shapes the beliefs of everyone, but gives power to the those of the favored group.A Killer's Racist Rants
February 6, 2014
Forming the shapes of the Lincoln Memorial and a cannon among others, Buckeye fans got an entertaining and educational show.Exploding Whale, Black Friday and More Viral Videos
The Daily Beast Video
November 30, 2013
Historical Examples of shapes
It is the mind after all that really sees, shapes, and colors all things.The Works of Whittier, Volume VII (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
All we know is that she is one of four shapes gathered round a small table.Echoes of the War
J. M. Barrie
These cakes must be cut into shapes when they are hot, as otherwise they will break.The Cook's Decameron: A Study in Taste:
Mrs. W. G. Waters
And the shapes of their leaves were as varied as their tints.Abbe Mouret's Transgression
Press it, and, when cold, cut it into cutlets or other shapes.The Skilful Cook
- the outward form of an object defined by outline
- the figure or outline of the body of a person
- a phantom
- organized or definite formmy plans are taking shape
- the form that anything assumes; guise
- something used to provide or define form; pattern; mould
- condition or state of efficiencyto be in good shape
- out of shape
- in bad physical condition
- bent, twisted, or deformed
- take shape to assume a definite form
- (when intr, often foll by into or up) to receive or cause to receive shape or form
- (tr) to mould into a particular pattern or form; modify
- (tr) to plan, devise, or prepareto shape a plan of action
- an obsolete word for appoint
Word Origin for shape
- Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
Word Origin and History for shapes
Old English scapan, past participle of scieppan "to create, form, destine" (past tense scop), from Proto-Germanic *skapjanan "create, ordain" (cf. Old Norse skapa, Danish skabe, Old Saxon scapan, Old Frisian skeppa, Middle Dutch schappen "do, treat," Old High German scaffan, German schaffen "shape, create, produce"), from PIE root *(s)kep- a base forming words meaning "to cut, scrape, hack" (see scabies), which acquired broad technical senses and in Germanic a specific sense of "to create."
Old English scieppan survived into Middle English as shippen, but shape emerged as a regular verb (with past tense shaped) by 1500s. The old past participle form shapen survives in misshapen. Middle English shepster (late 14c.) "dressmaker, female cutter-out," is literally "shape-ster," from Old English scieppan.
Meaning "to form in the mind" is from late 14c. Phrase Shape up (v.) is literally "to give form to by stiff or solid material;" attested from 1865 as "progress;" from 1938 as "reform;" shape up or ship out is attested from 1956, originally U.S. military slang, with the sense being "do right or get shipped up to active duty."
Old English sceap, gesceap "form; created being, creature; creation; condition; sex, genitalia," from root of shape (v.)). Meaning "contours of the body" is attested from late 14c. Meaning "condition, state" is first recorded 1865, American English. In Middle English, the word in plural also had a sense of "a woman's private parts." Shape-shifter attested from 1820. Out of shape "not in proper shape" is from 1690s. Shapesmith "one who undertakes to improve the form of the body" was used in 1715.
Idioms and Phrases with shapes
In addition to the idiom beginning with shape
- shape up
- bent out of shape
- in condition (shape)
- lick into shape
- take shape