shape Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “shape” in the English Dictionary

"shape" in British English

See all translations

shapenoun

uk   us   /ʃeɪp/
  • shape noun (FORM)

B1 [C or U] the ​particularphysicalform or ​appearance of something: Clay can be ​moulded into ​almost any shape. These ​bricks are all different shapes. Kim's ​birthdaycake was in the shape of a ​train. Our ​table is ​oval in shape. My ​bicyclewheel is ​bent out of shape. This ​T-shirt has been ​washed so many ​times that it's lostits shape (= has ​becomeloose and ​lostitsform).B1 [C] an ​arrangement that is ​formed by ​joininglines together in a ​particular way or by the ​line or ​lines around ​itsouteredge: a round/​square/​circular/​oblong shape A ​triangle is a shape with three ​sides. The ​children made ​patterns by ​stickingcoloured shapes onto ​paper. [C] the ​physicalform or ​appearance of a ​particularperson 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 ​seeclearly because it is too ​dark, or because the ​person or ​object is too ​far away: I could ​see a ​dark shape in the ​streetoutside.all shapes and sizes C2 many different ​types: We ​sell all shapes and ​sizes ofteddybear. 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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • shape noun (CONDITION)

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

shapeverb [T]

uk   us   /ʃeɪp/
  • 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 ​fatherplayed a ​majorpart in shaping my ​attitude towards men. He was very ​influential in shaping the country's ​economicpolicy/​strategy.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • shape verb [T] (FORM)

to make something ​become a ​particular shape: The ​skirt has been shaped so that it ​hangsloosely. When you've made the ​dough, shape it into two ​loaves. formal to make an ​object from a ​physicalsubstance: Early ​humans shaped ​tools out ofstone.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of shape from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"shape" in American English

See all translations

shapenoun

 us   /ʃeɪp/
  • shape noun (APPEARANCE)

[C/U] the ​particular way something ​looks as a ​whole: [U] Our ​table is ​oval in shape. [C] The ​birthdaycake for Luis was in the shape of a ​heart. [U] These ​oldsweatpants are all ​stretched out of shape (= ​changed from ​theiroriginalform). art [C/U] A shape is also an ​arrangement that is ​formed by ​joininglines together in a ​particular way: [C] A ​triangle is a shape with three ​sides. [C/U] A shape is also a ​person or ​object that you cannot ​seeclearly because it is too ​dark, or because the ​person or ​object is too ​far away.
  • shape noun (CONDITION)

[U] (of a thing) ​condition, or (of a ​person) ​state of ​health: The city’s ​finances are in ​bad shape. I ​keep myself in good shape by ​running five ​miles a ​day. [U] Shape can also ​mean good ​physicalcondition: He’s in/out of shape (= in good/not in good ​condition). I ​try to ​stay in shape.
  • shape noun (FORM)

[U] the way something is ​organized; the ​generalcharacter or ​nature of something: The governor’s new ​program is ​finallybeginning to take shape (= ​becomebetterorganized).

shapeverb [T]

 us   /ʃeɪp/
  • shape verb [T] (FORM)

to ​cause something to have a ​particularcharacter or ​nature; ​form: We’re ​worried that they will ​try to shape the ​issue in a way that doesn't ​reflect what’s really going on. He had a ​majorinfluence in shaping the government’s ​economicpolicies.
  • shape verb [T] (APPEARANCE)

to make something ​look a ​particular way: Shape the ​dough into ​balls.
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of shape from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"shape" in Business English

See all translations

shapenoun [U or S]

uk   us   /ʃeɪp/
the way that something is ​organized, or its ​generalcharacter or nature: the shape of sth Technological ​developments have ​changed the shape of ​industry. We need to ​change the whole shape of our ad ​campaign.
the ​condition something is in, or how ​strong something is: in good/great shape Our ​investments sailed through the recent ​downturn in fairly good shape with a ​diversifiedbase. in ​bad/​poor/terrible shapein no shape to do sth You should ​stay in bed; you're in no shape to go to ​work today.
(Definition of shape from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of shape?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“shape” in Business English

Word of the Day

float

a large vehicle with a flat surface that is decorated and used in festivals

Word of the Day

Chest pains and palpitations: talking about illness (2)
Chest pains and palpitations: talking about illness (2)
by Liz Walter,
February 03, 2016
My previous post (My leg hurts: Talking about illness (1)) presented some general vocabulary to use at the doctor’s. This one looks at some more specific areas of illness and explains some useful words and phrases that you may need to use or understand on a visit to the doctor’s. There are several

Read More 

farecasting noun
farecasting noun
February 08, 2016
predicting the optimum date to buy a plane ticket, especially on a website or using an app A handful of new and updated websites and apps are trying to perfect the art of what’s known as farecasting – predicting the best date to buy a ticket.

Read More