verb (used with object), showed, shown or showed, show·ing.
verb (used without object), showed, shown or showed, show·ing.
- the first appearance of blood at the onset of menstruation.
- a blood-tinged mucous discharge from the vagina that indicates the onset of labor.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- to be the most pleasing or spectacular item or person in a group.
Origin of show
Synonyms for show
verb shows, showing, showed, shown or showed
- (of a stage act, etc) to receive so much applause as to interrupt the performance
- to be received with great enthusiasm
Word Origin 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.
steal the show
Also, steal the spotlight. Be the center of attention, as in The speeches were interesting but Eliza's singing stole the show. This idiom alludes to unexpectedly outshining the rest of the cast in a theatrical production. [First half of 1900s]
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
- 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