Meaning of SHAPE in English

transcription, транскрипция: [ ʃeɪp ]

( shapes, shaping, shaped)

Frequency: The word is one of the 1500 most common words in English.


The shape of an object, a person, or an area is the appearance of their outside edges or surfaces, for example whether they are round, square, curved, or fat.

Each mirror is made to order and can be designed to almost any shape or size.

...little pens in the shape of baseball bats...

...sofas and chairs of contrasting shapes and colours...

The buds are conical or pyramidal in shape...

These bras should be handwashed to help them keep their shape...

N-COUNT : oft N of n , also in N


You can refer to something that you can see as a shape if you cannot see it clearly, or if its outline is the clearest or most striking aspect of it.

Lying in bed we often see dark shapes of herons silhouetted against the moon.



A shape is a space enclosed by an outline, for example a circle, a square, or a triangle.

He suggested that the shapes represented a map of Britain and Ireland.



The shape of something that is planned or organized is its structure and character.

The last two weeks have seen a lot of talk about the future shape of Europe...

N-SING : usu N of n


Someone or something that shapes a situation or an activity has a very great influence on the way it develops.

Like it or not, our families shape our lives and make us what we are.

VERB : V n


If you shape an object, you give it a particular shape, using your hands or a tool.

Cut the dough in half and shape each half into a loaf.

VERB : V n into n


see also shaped


If you say that something is the shape of things to come , you mean that it is the start of a new trend or development, and in future things will be like this.

British Rail says its new Liverpool Street station is the shape of things to come.

PHRASE : v-link PHR


If you say, for example, that you will not accept something in any shape or form , or in any way, shape or form , you are emphasizing that you will not accept it in any circumstances.

I don’t condone violence in any shape or form...

PHRASE : PHR after v [ emphasis ]


If someone or something is in shape , or in good shape , they are in a good state of health or in a good condition. If they are in bad shape , they are in a bad state of health or in a bad condition.

He was still in better shape than many young men...

The trees were in bad shape from dry rot.

PHRASE : PHR after v , v-link PHR


You can use in the shape of to state exactly who or what you are referring to, immediately after referring to them in a general way.

The Prime Minister found a surprise ally today in the shape of Jacques Delors, the Commission President...



If you lick , knock, or whip someone or something into shape , you use whatever methods are necessary to change or improve them so that they are in the condition that you want them to be in.

You’ll have four months in which to lick the recruits into shape...

PHRASE : V inflects


If something is out of shape , it is no longer in its proper or original shape, for example because it has been damaged or wrongly handled.

Once most wires are bent out of shape, they don’t return to the original position.

PHRASE : PHR after v


If you are out of shape , you are unhealthy and unable to do a lot of physical activity without getting tired.

= unfit

≠ fit

PHRASE : v-link PHR


When something takes shape , it develops or starts to appear in such a way that it becomes fairly clear what its final form will be.

In 1912 women’s events were added, and the modern Olympic programme began to take shape.

PHRASE : V inflects

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.