[ shoh ]
See synonyms for: showshowedshowingshown on

verb (used with object),showed, shown or showed, show·ing.
  1. to cause or allow to be seen; exhibit; display.

  2. to present or perform as a public entertainment or spectacle: to show a movie.

  1. to indicate; point out: to show the way.

  2. to guide, escort, or usher: He showed me to my room. Show her in.

  3. to explain or make clear; make known: He showed what he meant.

  4. to make known to; inform, instruct, or prove to: I'll show you what I mean.

  5. to prove; demonstrate: His experiment showed the falsity of the theory.

  6. to indicate, register, or mark: The thermometer showed 10 below zero.

  7. to exhibit or offer for sale: to show a house.

  8. to allege, as in a legal document; plead, as a reason or cause.

  9. to produce, as facts in an affidavit or at a hearing.

  10. to express or make evident by appearance, behavior, speech, etc.: to show one's feelings.

  11. to accord or grant (favor, kindness, etc.): He showed mercy in his decision.

verb (used without object),showed, shown or showed, show·ing.
  1. to be seen; be or become visible: Does my slip show?

  2. to be seen in a certain way: to show to advantage.

  1. to put on an exhibition or performance; display one's goods or products: Several dress designers are showing in New York now.

  2. Informal. to be present or keep an appointment; show up: He said he would be there, but he didn't show.

  3. to finish third in a horse race, harness race, etc.

  1. a theatrical production, performance, or company: We’d like to catch a Broadway show while we’re in the city!

  2. a radio or television program: The show is on Tuesdays at 8:00.

  1. a movie: Grab a popcorn and a drink before the show starts.

  2. 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.

  3. any kind of public exhibition or exposition: a show of Renoirs.

  4. ostentatious display: nothing but mere show.

  5. a display, exhibition, or demonstration: a true show of freedom.

  6. an indication; trace: He frowned on the slightest show of emotion.

  7. the position of the competitor who comes in third in a horse race, harness race, etc.: Compare place (def. 27b), win1 (def. 16).

  8. appearance; impression: to make a sorry show.

  9. a sight or spectacle.

  10. an unreal or deceptive appearance: The actress's tears had the show of grief.

  11. an act or instance of showing.

  12. Informal. a chance: to get a fair show.

  13. Medicine/Medical.

    • the first appearance of blood at the onset of menstruation.

    • a blood-tinged mucous discharge from the vagina that indicates the onset of labor.

  14. Chiefly British Informal. any undertaking, group of persons, event, etc.; affair; thing.

Verb Phrases
  1. show off,

    • to display ostentatiously: The parade was designed to show off all the latest weapons of war.

    • to seek to gain attention by displaying prominently one's abilities or accomplishments.

  2. show up,

    • to make known, as faults; expose; reveal.

    • to exhibit in a certain way; appear: White shows up well against a blue background.

    • to come to or arrive at a place: We waited for two hours, but he didn't show up.

    • to make (another) seem inferior; outdo.

Idioms about show

  1. make a show of, to be ostentatious about; affect: Whenever there are visitors, the bosses make a show of being nice to their employees.

  2. run the show, to control a business, situation, etc.; be in charge: My father runs the show in our house.

  1. steal the show,

    • to get the most attention, applause, or credit for something: No doubt the three stars are all very talented, but the little boy stole the show.I did all the work, but my partner stole the show.

    • to be the most pleasing or spectacular item or person in a group: The entrées at this restaurant are always good, but expect dessert to steal the show!

  2. stop the show, to win such enthusiastic applause that a theatrical performance is temporarily interrupted.

Origin of show

First recorded before 900; (verb) 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 verb

Other words for show

Other words from show

  • show·a·ble, adjective
  • show·less, adjective
  • out·show, verb (used with object), out·showed, out·shown or out·showed, out·show·ing.
  • pre·show, adjective, noun, verb (used with object), pre·showed, pre·shown or pre·showed, pre·show·ing.
  • re·show, verb, re·showed, re·shown or re·showed, re·show·ing.
  • su·per·show, noun
  • un·show·a·ble, adjective

Words Nearby show Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use show in a sentence

  • None other would dare to show herself unveiled to a stranger, and a white man at that.

    The Red Year | Louis Tracy
  • I shall show how it is possible thus to prolong life to the term set by God.

  • Not only do children thus of themselves extend the scope of our commands, they show a disposition to make rules for themselves.

    Children's Ways | James Sully
  • He called upon the Order to show their title-deeds, but was met with a contemptuous refusal.

    The Philippine Islands | John Foreman
  • If any one has lost his temper, as well as his money, he takes good care not to show it; to do so here would be indeed bad form.

British Dictionary definitions for show


/ (ʃəʊ) /

verbshows, showing, showed, shown or showed
  1. to make, be, or become visible or noticeable: to show one's dislike

  2. (tr) to present to view; exhibit: he showed me a picture

  1. (tr) to indicate or explain; prove: to show that the earth moves round the sun

  2. (tr) to exhibit or present (oneself or itself) in a specific character: to show oneself to be trustworthy

  3. (tr; foll by how and an infinitive) to instruct by demonstration: show me how to swim

  4. (tr) to indicate or register: a barometer shows changes in the weather

  5. (tr) to grant or bestow: to show favour to someone

  6. (intr) to appear: to show to advantage

  7. to exhibit, display, or offer (goods, etc) for sale: three artists were showing at the gallery

  8. (tr) to allege, as in a legal document: to show cause

  9. to present (a play, film, etc) or (of a play, etc) to be presented, as at a theatre or cinema

  10. (tr) to guide or escort: please show me to my room

  11. show in to conduct a person into a room or building by opening the door for him

  12. show out to conduct a person out of a room or building by opening the door for him

  13. (intr) to win a place in a horse race, etc

  14. to give a performance of riding and handling (a horse) to display its best points

  15. (intr) informal to put in an appearance; arrive

  1. a display or exhibition

  2. a public spectacle

  1. an ostentatious or pretentious display

  2. a theatrical or other entertainment

  3. a trace or indication

  4. obstetrics a discharge of blood at the onset of labour

  5. US, Australian and NZ informal a chance; opportunity (esp in the phrases give someone a show, he's got no show of winning, etc)

  6. a sporting event consisting of contests in which riders perform different exercises to show their skill and their horses' ability and breeding

  7. slang, mainly British a thing or affair (esp in the phrases good show, bad show, etc)

  8. Australian and NZ mining a slight indication of the presence of gold

  9. a display of farm animals, with associated competitions

  10. for show in order to attract attention

  11. run the show informal to take charge of or manage an affair, business, etc

  12. steal the show to draw the most attention or admiration, esp unexpectedly

  13. stop the show informal

    • (of a stage act, etc) to receive so much applause as to interrupt the performance

    • to be received with great enthusiasm

Origin of show

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with show


In addition to the idioms beginning with show

  • show and tell
  • show must go on, the
  • show off
  • show of hands
  • show one's colors
  • show one's face
  • show one's hand
  • show one's heels
  • show one's teeth
  • show one's true colors
  • show signs of
  • show someone the door
  • show someone the ropes
  • show someone a good time
  • show someone out
  • show the way
  • show the white feather
  • show to advantage
  • show up

also see:

  • bare (show) one's teeth
  • dog-and-pony show
  • false colors, show
  • for show
  • get the show on the road
  • go to show
  • know (show) the ropes
  • one-man show
  • road show
  • run the show
  • steal the show
  • (show one's) true colors

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.