American English

Definition of shape noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable, uncountable] the form of the outer edges or surfaces of something; an example of something that has a particular form a rectangular shape The pool was in the shape of a heart. The island was originally circular in shape. Squares, circles, and triangles are types of shapes. Candles come in all shapes and sizes. You can recognize the fish by the shape of their fins. This old T-shirt has completely lost its shape. (figurative) The government provides money in the shape of (= consisting of) grants and student loans.
  2. 2[countable] a person or thing that is difficult to see clearly synonym figure Ghostly shapes moved around in the dark. I could just make out a dark shape in the distance.
  3. 3[uncountable] the physical condition of someone or something What sort of shape was the car in after the accident? He's in good shape for a man of his age. I like to keep in shape (= keep fit). He's not in any shape (= not well enough) to be working. synonyms at well
  4. 4[uncountable] the particular qualities or characteristics of something Will new technology change the shape of broadcasting? Prices vary according to the size and shape of each project.
  5. Thesauruswellgood all right OK fine healthy strong in shapeThese words all describe someone who is not sick and is in good health.well [not usually before noun] (somewhat informal) in good health:Is he well enough to travel? Well is used especially to talk about your own health, to ask someone about their health, or to make a comment on it.good [not usually before noun] (somewhat informal) in good health:I don't feel good. She's looking much better these days.all right [not before noun] (somewhat informal) not feeling ill; not injured:Are you feeling all right?OK [not before noun] (informal) not feeling ill; not injured:She says that she's OK now, and will be back at work tomorrow.all right or ok?These words are slightly less positive than the other words in this group. They are both used in spoken English, to talk about not actually being sick or injured, rather than being positively in good health. Both are somewhat informal but OK is slightly more informal than all right.fine [not before noun] (not used in negative statements) (somewhat informal) completely well:“How are you?” “Fine, thanks.” Fine is used especially to talk about your health, especially when someone asks you how you are. It is also used to talk about someone's health when you are talking to someone else.healthy in good health and not likely to become sick:Stay healthy by exercising regularly.strong in good health and not suffering from an illness:After a few weeks, she was feeling stronger. Strong is often used to talk about becoming healthy again after an shape in good physical health, especially because you take regular physical exercise:I go swimming every day in order to stay in shape.Patterns all right/OK/in shape for something all right/OK to do something to feel/look well/good/all right/OK/fine/healthy/strong to keep (somebody) well/healthy/in shape perfectly well/all right/OK/fine/healthy physically well/healthy/strongIdioms
    get (all) bent out of shape (about/over something) (informal)
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    to become angry, anxious, or upset Don't get bent out of shape about it. It was just a mistake!
    get (yourself) into shape
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    to take exercise, eat healthy food, etc. in order to become physically fit I'm trying to get into shape before summer.
    get/knock/lick/whip somebody into shape
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    to train someone so that they do a particular job, task, etc. well It took him just two weeks to whip the new recruits into shape.
    get/knock/lick/whip something into shape
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    to make something more acceptable, organized, or successful I've got all the information together but it still needs to be knocked into shape. It shouldn't take long to get the company back into shape.
    give shape to something (formal)
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    to express or explain a particular idea, plan, etc. Marie tried to find the right words to give shape to the confusion in her head.
    in any (way,) shape or form (informal)
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    of any type I don't approve of violence in any shape or form.
      out of shape
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    1. 1not having the normal shape The wheel had been twisted out of shape.
    2. 2(of a person) not in good physical condition I didn't realize how out of shape I was!
    the shape of things to come
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    the way things are likely to develop in the future Are solar-powered cars the shape of things to come?
    to develop and become more complete or organized The garden is beginning to take shape. A new song began to take shape in her mind.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: shape