Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “shape”

shape

noun uk   /ʃeɪp/ us  

shape noun (FORM)

B1 [C or U] the particular physical form or appearance of something: Clay can be moulded into almost any shape. These bricks are all different shapes. Kim's birthday cake was in the shape of a train. Our table is oval in shape. My bicycle wheel has got bent out of shape. This T-shirt has been washed so many times that it's lost its shape (= has become loose and lost its form). B1 [C] an arrangement that is formed by joining lines together in a particular way or by the line or lines around its outer edge: a round/square/circular/oblong shape A triangle is a shape with three sides. The children made patterns by sticking coloured shapes onto paper. [C] the physical form or appearance of a particular person or thing: In the story, Faust is tempted by the Devil, who has taken the shape of a man. Life on Earth takes many shapes. [C] a person or object that you cannot see clearly because it is too dark, or because the person or object is too far away: I could see a dark shape in the street outside. all shapes and sizes C2 many different types: We sell all shapes and sizes of teddy bear. Cars come in all shapes and sizes. in any shape or form of any type: I'm opposed to war in any shape or form.

shape noun (CHARACTER)

[U] the way something is organized, or its general character or nature: Technological developments have changed the shape of industry. We need to change the whole shape of our campaign.

shape noun (CONDITION)

B2 [U] condition, or state of health: He bought up businesses that were in bad/poor shape, and then sold them off bit by bit. "How are you?" "Oh, I'm in great shape." You're in no shape (= not in a good enough state of health) to go to work today. B2 [U] good physical condition: It's taken us five years to get our house into shape. She runs six miles every day to help keep herself in shape. I haven't had any exercise for weeks, and I'm really out of shape (= not in good physical condition).

shape

verb [T] uk   /ʃeɪp/ us  

shape verb [T] (CHARACTER)

C2 to decide or influence the form of something, especially a belief or idea, or someone's character: Many people are not able to shape their own destinies. My relationship with my father played a major part in shaping my attitude towards men. He was very influential in shaping the government's economic policy/strategy.

shape verb [T] (FORM)

to make something become a particular shape: The skirt has been shaped so that it hangs loosely. When you've made the dough, shape it into two loaves. formal to make an object from a physical substance: Early humans shaped tools out of stone.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of shape from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of shape?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Objects - general words, but you might be interested in these topics from the Objects topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “shape” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

long time no see

said when you meet someone who you haven't seen for a long period of time

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

Read More 

silver splicer noun

November 17, 2014
informal a person who marries in later life Newly retired and now newlywed – rise of the ‘silver splicers’ Reaching pension age becomes a trigger to tie the knot as baby-boomers begin to redefine retirement

Read More