- 1The external form, contours, or outline of someone or something: she liked the shape of his nose houseplants come in all shapes and sizes [mass noun]: the stones are irregular in shapeMore example sentences
- Morgan hypothesizes that the mound shape was first outlined by a line of posts set in a wall trench, which served as a retaining wall for the fill.
- Suddenly, he noticed a translucent, dark purple flame floating two or three inches away from his sister's skin, outlining the shape of her body.
- For this he reconstructed a Neolithic forest whose outline forms the shape of an endangered falcon.
- 1.1A person or thing that is difficult to see and identify clearly: he saw a shape through the mistMore example sentences
- Slowly the world started to leak in to her mind, her eyes started to identify shapes; she could see the centurions crowded around her whispering.
- Holding out in front of her, trying to keep it steady, she pointed it at several of the moving shapes but couldn't identify any of them.
- The field was denser than the War Six field, but the obstacles were more visible and their shapes were easier to identify.
- 1.2A specific form or guise assumed by someone or something: a fiend in human shapeMore example sentences
- The cloud assumes a human shape, and begins to solidify.
- Were they a more human form of a being that could assume the shape of any creature on Earth?
- Clouds excite him partly because they perpetually assume new shapes.
- 2A geometric figure such as a square, triangle, or rectangle.More example sentences
- Grouping wall decor in geometric shapes such as rectangles, triangles or circles adds interest.
- Some characters looked like geometric shapes, such as triangles.
- Bold, geometric shapes, abstracts, squares and sharp angles are all appropriate.
- 2.1A piece of material, paper, etc., made or cut in a particular form: stick paper shapes on for the puppet’s eyes and noseMore example sentences
- Then separate shapes are made by actually cutting the mesh into shapes and casting the paper straight into shapes on the J cloth.
- Cut simple holiday shapes out of paper or felt, then hang with thread from curtain rods, hanging lamps, doorways or over the outside of a lampshade.
- Gris too made extensive use of papier collé, and Matisse's use of cut-out paper shapes in his late work is a development of the technique.
- 3 [mass noun] The correct or original form or contours of something: her skirt had lost its shape long ago the lid had been battered out of shapeMore example sentences
- I stepped into a pair of slippers that were supposed to look like wolves, but had sort of lost any shape about a year ago.
- As one, they bowed low to her as her form lost shape and soon disappeared altogether.
- The disadvantages of the technique are that, while some characteristics are quite stable, others, such as leaf shape, can vary markedly even on one vine.
- 3.1Definite or orderly arrangement: check that your structure will give shape to your essayMore example sentences
- Paterson's love commands that we look deep into the objects that give shape to things: shadow, mirror, glass.
- The okomfo, however, will throw out clues to onlookers so as to differentiate and give shape to each obosom.
- Yet individuals do not have to be rich or famous for their passions to give shape to a community.
- 3.2The distinctive nature or qualities of something: debates about the future shape of British societyMore example sentences
- Our new understanding will lead us to new tools, which will ‘change the nature and shape of firms.’
- A fulfilled national dream, the railway changed the lives of every man, woman and child in Canada and altered the future and shape of the nation.
- The shape of future health-care legislation is yet to be seen.
- 4 [mass noun] Good physical condition: she has to work hard to keep in shape I trained with the featherweight champion of Europe to get in shapeMore example sentences
- He had worked hard to get in shape, and he was in really good shape, and he just had some episodes that things weren't quite right.
- As a result, she got herself into shape physically, becoming a kind of Mediterranean Marilyn Monroe.
- He kept in tremendous shape and ate healthier than the diet-crazed Americans he read about.
- 4.1 [with adjective] The specified condition or state of someone or something: he was in no shape to drive the company came through a difficult period in excellent financial shapeMore example sentences
- The Great Depression of this century will probably hit much harder that that of the 1930s since our country is in so much poorer financial shape.
- Data-mining projects are generally a good bet for companies in poor financial shape, looking to technology for quick payback, he says.
- With those kinds of income gains, consumers will be in excellent shape to face the financial challenges that 2005 will bring.
verb[with object] Back to top
- 1Give a particular shape or form to: most caves are shaped by the flow of water through limestone shape the dough into two-inch ballsMore example sentences
- Each flavor contains one of Denali's proprietary inclusions such as the Bear Foot Cookie Dough, which is shaped like a bear's foot.
- When the dough has been shaped into a pyramid, a thick meat and potato stew is poured round it and decorated with whole hard-boiled eggs.
- Samsung, one of Asia's leaders in design, shaped its Compact Mobile Phone concept like a woman's compact.
- 1.1Form or produce (a sound or words): her lips shaped barely audible wordsMore example sentences
- Lips shaping words that Althia didn't recognize, Morgana closed her eyes and retreated several steps so that her arms were stretched as far as possible while she continued to grasp Althia's arms.
- Violet, however, was genuinely deep in thought, her lips shaping the words as she puzzled out the riddle.
- Lips shaped silent words and their faces were upturned towards the stone woman.
- 1.2Make (something) fit the form of something else: [with object and infinitive]: suits have been shaped to fit so snugly that no curve is undefinedMore example sentences
- Every block was shaped to fit just so, leaving little more than a paper-thin gap in between.
- The tile will be safe for the example load if the trench bottom is shaped to fit the tile rather than left flat.
- The fitted and shaped waist styling really suits hour glass figures and can only be welcomed by women who are not stick thin and have voluptuous curves to show.
- 1.3Determine the nature of; have a great influence on: his childhood was shaped by a loving relationship with his elder brotherMore example sentences
- And thus it was that the career of a great Indian batsman was influenced and shaped by the example of a great Pakistani batsman.
- We of the Never-Never was extremely influential in shaping urban Australia's view of the outback - more than a million copies have been sold, it was adapted for schools, and a film version appeared in 1982.
- Above and beyond contemporary political struggles, the migration of labor can play an interesting role in shaping the very nature of political institutions and the role they play.
in any shape or form (or in any way, shape, or form)
- In any manner or under any circumstances: 96 per cent of the electorate voted against Europeanization in any shape or formMore example sentences
- We were not involved in the investigation in any way, shape, or form.
- But somebody came to me, which was my mother, and told me that if anybody's going to be affiliated with me in any way, shape, or form, it was going to be because of who I am on the inside, not what my appearance was to be.
- I am not affiliated with the gambling industry in any way, shape, or form, nor do I gamble myself or own any gambling related shares.
in the shape of
- Represented or embodied by: retribution arrived in the shape of my irate fatherMore example sentences
- The turning point arrived in the shape of a small, solid female a bit wider than she was tall.
- The parting with Victoria was painful, even though an irresistible competitor in the shape of Albert had arrived.
- But further reasons did come, in the shape of Pakistan's May-end testing of missiles.
- By way of; in the nature of: there had been little or nothing in the shape of academic planningMore example sentences
- It is the past in the shape of linguistically transmitted tradition which determines our pre-understanding.
lick (or knock or whip) someone/thing into shape
- Act forcefully to bring someone or something into a fitter, more efficient, or better-organized state: the bank were eager to whip the company into shape for eventual saleMore example sentences
- He is determined his team hits the ground running from day one this season so he's devised a vigorous training regime to whip his players into shape.
- But then their job was to judge people who had no idea what they wanted to do and then send them out to companies or jobs where we could be knocked into shape by the system.
- This time, the York College employee will put a bunch of self-confessed ‘bad lads’, aged 18 to 24, through their paces in an attempt to see if four weeks of a strict 1950s regime can lick them into shape.
the shape of things to come
- The way the future is likely to develop.[the title of a novel by H. G. Wells (1933)]More example sentences
- Unlike Agee, then, who was drawn to elegy, Martínez is drawn to prophecy: he sees the provinces as the future, the towns of Cherán and Warren as the shape of things to come.
- Albeit clever, imaginative, notably fertile, this squeaky-voiced, scurrying little ladies' man, the prophet of the shape of things to come, fell short, in every sense, of his predecessor's measure.
- Every day, a creation takes place as new uses, new mistakes, new copy is generated, each creating a new meaning for the shape of things to come.
shape up or ship out
- • informal , chiefly North American Used as an ultimatum to someone to improve their performance or behaviour or face being made to leave.More example sentences
- ‘Nah,’ interrupted another, ‘I heard that he's very strict and that he's going to make this school shape up or ship out.‘
- ‘Australia is our compassionate mother, and I say to every person living in Australia, from the person in the highest office down to the ordinary man on the street, love this country or leave it, shape up or ship out,’ he said.
- The gist of what they told us was this: shape up or ship out.
- Assume a distinct form; develop into something definite or tangible: the past few months have seen the state’s health insurance legislation begin to take shapeMore example sentences
- The party, now in its 12th year, helped residents build a sense of community back when the development was just taking shape.
- Here's a look at some of the other developments taking shape around town.
- The question that remains, however, is what alternative narrative takes shape where the developmental trajectory of the narrative of self-making leaves off.
- British • informal Dance to popular music: I watched as other clubbers threw shapes on the dance floor yours truly attempted to throw some shapes to long forgotten tunes from the 1970sMore example sentences
- He dramatically vaults the barricades, gyrates his hips and begins throwing shapes.
- It wasn't till a month later that I realised I'd been throwing shapes to a cover of 'Anyone of Us'.
- While her backing dancers threw shapes which would have caused blushes at the Moulin Rouge, she bounced through her back catalogue of bubblegum music.
- Develop or progress in a particular way: I wanted to see how things had been shaping up in my absence it was shaping up to be another bleak yearMore example sentences
- So, it'll be interesting to see how, in fact, a trial shapes up.
- Her partnership was shaping up nicely along with her plan.
- So far, May is shaping up like this for Jacksonville Economic Development Commission meetings.
- Become physically fit: she was looking for a way to shape up after the birth of her second sonMore example sentences
- If you already have a special someone, shaping up together enhances physical and emotional intimacy since you both are sharing fitness goals and spending time together.
- Believing that we will inspire our patients to make desperately needed lifestyle changes, the AAFP is promoting the untested hypothesis that family physicians should shape up and become better role models.
- • informal Improve one’s behaviour or performance to the required standard: the manager has ordered his goal-shy strike force to shape upMore example sentences
- Go ahead and require them to shape up or start learning to train their Polish replacements.
- Now you either shape up and act like a mature young woman or you can get on a plane right now and we'll send you home!
- [usually in combination]: egg-shaped X-shapedMore example sentences
- Central Park is a kind of a rectangular shaped green area, which divides New York into two - the east and the west.
- Irregularly shaped hot spot areas will fit any design criteria.
- The irregular triangular shaped area of land in the middle in a dark colour is Alamdo's land.
- More example sentences
- The diamonds he watches so closely are not the rocks on the rings of the rich and famous, they are tiny grains of pure carbon coating the blades, polishers and shapers the company produces.
- So what happens when the opinion shapers - the very origins of mass media and epitome of corporate society - become the target?
- They speak of an extreme environment far removed from the daily norm and largely unknown to most architects - those professional shapers of human habitation who have been largely absent in the engineering of South Pole habitats.
Old English gesceap 'external form', also 'creation', sceppan 'create', of Germanic origin.