• Shape


    • enPR: shāp, IPA: /ʃeɪp/
    • Rhymes: -eɪp


    From Middle English shap, schape, from Old English Ä¡esceap ("shape, form, created being, creature, creation, dispensation, fate, condition, sex, gender, genitalia"), from Proto-Germanic *ga- + *skapÄ… ("shape, nature, condition"), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kep- ("to split, cut"). Cognate with Middle Dutch schap ("form"), Middle High German geschaf ("creature"), Icelandic skap ("state, condition, temper, mood").

    The verb is from Middle English shapen, schapen, from Old English scieppan ("to shape, form, make, create, assign, arrange, destine, order, adjudge"), from Proto-Germanic *skapjanÄ… ("to create"), from the noun. Cognate with Dutch scheppen, German schaffen, Swedish skapa ("to create, make").

    Full definition of shape



    (plural shapes)
    1. The status or condition of somethingThe used bookshop wouldn't offer much due to the poor shape of the book.
    2. Condition of personal health, especially muscular health.The vet checked to see what kind of shape the animal was in.We exercise to keep in good physical shape.
    3. The appearance of something, especially its outline.He cut a square shape out of the cake.
    4. A figure with unspecified appearance; especially a geometric figure.What shape shall we use for the cookies? Stars, circles, or diamonds?
    5. Form; formation.
      • 2006, Berdj Kenadjian, Martin Zakarian, From Darkness to Light:What if God's plans and actions do mold the shape of human events?
    6. (iron manufacture) A rolled or hammered piece, such as a bar, beam, angle iron, etc., having a cross section different from merchant bar.
    7. (iron manufacture) A piece which has been roughly forged nearly to the form it will receive when completely forged or fitted.



    1. (transitive) To give something a shape and definition.
      • 1932, The American Scholar, page 227, United Chapters of Phi Beta KappaThe professor never pretended to the academic prerogative of forcing his students into his own channels of reasoning; he entered into and helped shape the discussion but above all he made his men learn to think for themselves and rely upon their own intellectual judgments.
      • 2013-08-03, Revenge of the nerds, Think of banking today and the image is of grey-suited men in towering skyscrapers. Its future, however, is being shaped in converted warehouses and funky offices in San Francisco, New York and London, where bright young things in jeans and T-shirts huddle around laptops, sipping lattes or munching on free food.
    2. Shape the dough into a pretzel.   For my art project, I plan to shape my clay lump into a bowl.
    3. To form or manipulate something into a certain shape.
      • PriorGrace shaped her limbs, and beauty decked her face.
      • 2010, December 29, Mark Vesty, Wigan 2-2 Arsenal, Bendtner's goal-bound shot was well saved by goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi but fell to Arsahvin on the edge of the area and the Russian swivelled, shaped his body and angled a sumptuous volley into the corner.
    4. (of a country, person, etc) To give influence to.
    5. To suit; to be adjusted or conformable.
    6. (obsolete) To imagine; to conceive.
      • ShakespeareOft my jealousy
        Shapes faults that are not.


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