from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The characteristic surface configuration of a thing; an outline or contour. See Synonyms at form.
  • n. Something distinguished from its surroundings by its outline.
  • n. The contour of a person's body; the figure.
  • n. A definite distinctive form: "The bomb gave the shape of life, outer and inner, an irreversible charge; a sense of fatefulness would now lie on all things” ( Alfred Kazin).
  • n. A desirable form: a fabric that holds its shape.
  • n. A form or condition in which something may exist or appear; embodiment: a god in the shape of a swan.
  • n. Assumed or false appearance; guise.
  • n. A ghostly form; a phantom.
  • n. Something, such as a mold or pattern, used to give or determine form.
  • n. The proper condition of something necessary for action, effectiveness, or use: an athlete in excellent shape.
  • transitive v. To give a particular form to; create.
  • transitive v. To cause to conform to a particular form or pattern; adapt to fit.
  • transitive v. To plan to bring about the realization or accomplishment of; devise.
  • transitive v. To embody in a definite form: shaped a folk legend into a full-scale opera.
  • transitive v. To adapt to a particular use or purpose; adjust.
  • transitive v. To direct the course of: "He shaped history as well as being shaped by it” ( Robert J. Samuelson).
  • intransitive v. To come to pass; happen.
  • intransitive v. To take on a definite shape or form. Often used with up or into.
  • shape up Informal To turn out; develop.
  • shape up To improve so as to meet a standard: Either shape up or ship out.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The status or condition of something
  • n. Condition of personal health, especially muscular health.
  • n. The appearance of something, especially its outline.
  • n. A figure with unspecified appearance; especially a geometric figure.
  • n. Form; formation.
  • v. To give something a shape and definition.
  • v. To manouevre something into a certain shape.
  • v. To give influence to.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Character or construction of a thing as determining its external appearance; outward aspect; make; figure; form; guise.
  • n. That which has form or figure; a figure; an appearance; a being.
  • n. A model; a pattern; a mold.
  • n. Form of embodiment, as in words; form, as of thought or conception; concrete embodiment or example, as of some quality.
  • n. Dress for disguise; guise.
  • n.
  • n. A rolled or hammered piece, as a bar, beam, angle iron, etc., having a cross section different from merchant bar.
  • n. A piece which has been roughly forged nearly to the form it will receive when completely forged or fitted.
  • intransitive v. To suit; to be adjusted or conformable.
  • transitive v. To form or create; especially, to mold or make into a particular form; to give proper form or figure to.
  • transitive v. To adapt to a purpose; to regulate; to adjust; to direct.
  • transitive v. To imagine; to conceive; to call forth (ideas).
  • transitive v. To design; to prepare; to plan; to arrange.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To form; make; create; construct.
  • To give shape or form to; cut, mold, or make into a particular form: as, to shape a garment; to shape a vessel on the potters' wheel.
  • To adapt, as to a purpose; cause to conform; adjust; regulate: with to or unto.
  • To form with the mind; plan; contrive; devise; arrange; prepare.
  • To get ready; address (one's self to do something).
  • To direct (one's course); betake (one's self): as, to shape one's course homeward.
  • To image; conceive; call or conjure up.
  • To dress; array.
  • To destine; foreordain; predestine.
  • To take shape or form; be or become adapted, fit, or comformable.
  • To turn out; happen.
  • n. Form; figure; outward contour, aspect, or appearance; hence, guise: as, the two things are dissimilar in shape; the shape of the head; in man's shape.
  • n. That which was form or figure; a mere form, image, or figure; an appearance; a phantasm.
  • n. Concrete embodiment or form, as of a thought, conception, or quality.
  • n. Appearance; guise; dress; disguise; specifically, a theatrical costume (a complete dress).
  • n. Way; manner.
  • n. In industrial art:
  • n. A pattern to be followed by workmen; especially, a flat pattern to guide a cutter.
  • n. Something intended to serve as a framework for a light covering, as a bonnet-frame.
  • n. In cookery, a dessert dish consisting of blanc-mange, rice, corn-starch, jelly, or the like cast in a mold, allowed to stand till it sets or firms, and then turned out for serving.
  • n. The private parts, especially of a female.
  • n. Synonyms Form, Fashion, etc. (see figure), outline, mold, cut, build, cast.
  • n. An obsolete form of the past participle of shape.
  • n. In iron ship-building, a general term including all forms of rolled bars, such as angle-bars, T-bars, I-bars, angle-bulb-bars, T-bulb-bars, channel-bars, Z-bars, etc., as distinguished from plates.
  • n. In Tibet, a privy councillor; one of the five who advise the Tibetan regent in state affairs.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance
  • v. shape or influence; give direction to
  • n. any spatial attributes (especially as defined by outline)
  • n. the state of (good) health (especially in the phrases `in condition' or `in shape' or `out of condition' or `out of shape')
  • n. the supreme headquarters that advises NATO on military matters and oversees all aspects of the Allied Command Europe
  • v. give shape or form to
  • n. alternative names for the body of a human being
  • v. make something, usually for a specific function
  • n. a concrete representation of an otherwise nebulous concept
  • n. a perceptual structure
  • n. the visual appearance of something or someone


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English gesceap, a creation.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English shapen, schapen, from Old English scieppan ("to shape, form, make, create, assign, arrange, destine, order, adjudge"), from Proto-Germanic *skapjanan (“to create”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)kÀp- (“to split, divide”). Cognate with Dutch scheppen, German schaffen, Swedish skapa ("to create, make").


  • Another development is “shape memory” alloys which recover their shape with a temperature change.

    Chapter 5

  • But by the next harvest I had it so constructed, as to be drawn by an iron bar so shaped, appended and supported on the underneath part of the carriage, as to admit of the machine turning in any direction, and the carriage would follow just as the two hind wheels of a wagon do; the carriage had a seat behind, and a thick, deep cushion in front, for the raker to press his knees against while removing the grain from the platform to his right hand, which he was enabled to do with apparent ease with a _rake of peculiar shape_; -- (it cannot be done with a rake of ordinary shape).

    Obed Hussey Who, of All Inventors, Made Bread Cheap

  • To illustrate the functionality let's take an example of createCommand readonly ArrayList _graphicsList; public CreateCommand (DrawObject shape, ArrayList graphicsList) {_shape = shape; _graphicsList = graphicsList;} void Execute () {_graphicsList.

    The Code Project Latest Articles

  • The pumpkin shape is cute on its own, and a pumpkin muffin certainly needs no additional decoration.

    Baking Bites » Print » Pumpkin Cupcake Pan

  • Inspiring someone to lose weight and get in shape is a wonderful gift.

    He woke up to a big problem and shed 100 pounds

  • Being in shape is one point, but having your legs in basketball shape is a totally different thing. - Jordan's comeback has legs

  • Finally, applying repeater to a shape is also a perfect candidate for After Effects ‘Brainstorm’.

    Icons Star | SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles

  • This shape is also known to represent the pagan God called, Remphan.

    Four Star | SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles

  • There are some dangling plot threads, and some details/layering missing ... but the shape is there, and I think the last line gets to stay ...


  • The pagoda shape is a very familiar shape to most of us.

    Obi Statue | SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Collectibles


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • It was always a warm, sunny day with a sweet-smelling wind around the next corner. When Maggie-Now went to the baker's for the morning buns, there was usually a customer there who confided to the bakery woman: "I'm going to the cemetery in my shape today." That meant it was warm enough to go without a coat.

    Maggie-Now and her mother went to the cemetery in their shapes.

    Betty Smith, Maggie-Now (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958), p. 107 (The setting is Brooklyn, before World War I.)

    September 11, 2018

  • SHAPE, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, transferred to Belgium after France’s official withdrawal from NATO in 1966.

    March 31, 2008