Definition of shape noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ʃeɪp//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʃeɪp//
    jump to other results
  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 shape. 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 somebody/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.
  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. Word OriginOld English gesceap ‘external form’, also ‘creation’, sceppan ‘create’, of Germanic origin.Extra examples After the night before, he was in rough shape. Draw the desired shape onto white paper, First draw the rough shape of your chosen animal. Fold the paper to make the shape of a cone. Get your body into shape for the summer! Ghostly shapes loomed out of the fog. He did much to determine the shape of Asia’s political map. He did much to determine the shape of Europe’s political map at that time. He’s 64, but he’s in better physical shape than I am. I can’t stand insects in any shape or form. I could just make out the shapes of animals in the field. I need to get back into shape after the Christmas holiday. I recognized the distinctive shape of a 747. Leave the boy with me—I’ll soon knock him into shape! Opt for a hairstyle to suit your face shape. Ordinary things assumed different shapes in the mist. She drew inspiration from organic shapes in the surrounding landscape. She likes to stay in shape. T-shirts come in all shapes and sizes. Tables come in various shapes. The bicycle had been battered out of shape. The bruise was a sort of mushroom shape. The children cut the paper into various simple shapes. The company is in good financial shape. The desk was an awkward shape and wouldn’t fit through the door. The island is roughly circular in shape. The lens distorts shapes. The road forms an L shape. The wide-angle lens distorts shapes. These garments will retain their shape even with repeated washing. This new system could be the shape of things to come. You are in pretty good shape for your age. You can’t change your natural body shape. a cheese similar to Brie but produced in a different shape a doormat in the shape of a cat a log carved into the shape of a fish the optimum shape for a plane the words we use to give a shape to our feelings tiles of random shape to be in good shape for combat He’s in good shape for a man of his age. I don’t approve of violence in any way, shape or form. I need to get myself into shape for the race on Saturday. The building has a rectangular shape. The economy is still in pretty good shape. What sort of shape was your car in after the accident?Idioms
    get bent out of shape (about/over something)
    jump to other results
    (North American English, informal) to become angry, anxious or upset Don't get bent out of shape about it. It was just a mistake! See related entries: Anger
    get (yourself) into shape
    jump to other results
    to take exercise, eat healthy food, etc. in order to become physically fit I’m trying to get into shape before summer. See related entries: Healthy eating habits, Good health, Exercise
    get/knock/lick somebody into shape
    jump to other results
    to train somebody so that they do a particular job, task, etc. well It took him just two weeks to knock the new recruits into shape.
    get/knock/lick something into shape
    jump to other results
    to make something more acceptable, organized or successful I've got all the information together but it still needs knocking into shape. It shouldn’t take long to get the company back into shape.
    give shape to something
    jump to other results
    (formal) 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
    jump to other results
    (informal) of any type I don't approve of violence in any shape or form.
    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
    jump to other results
    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.
    1. 1(British English) to dance She spent the whole evening throwing shapes on the dance floor.
    2. 2(Irish English) to behave in a way that makes you seem threatening, especially by standing as though you are ready to fight, without actually becoming violent (figurative) The two main investors threw some shapes during the debate. I was worried he might get violent but he was just throwing shapes.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: shape