Meaning of SHAPE in English


I. shape 1 S2 W2 /ʃeɪp/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ shapeless , ↑ shapely , ↑ misshapen ; verb : ↑ shape ; noun : ↑ shape ; adverb : ↑ shapelessly ]

1 . ROUND/SQUARE ETC [uncountable and countable] the form that something has, for example round, square, ↑ triangular etc:

What shape is the table?

You can recognize a tree by the shape of its leaves.

round/square etc in shape

The dining room was square in shape.

His battered old hat had completely lost its shape.

in the shape of something

a silver pin in the shape of a large bird

The plants grow in every shape and size.

The children cut out shapes (=squares, triangles etc) from the piece of cardboard.

out of shape

The wheel had been bent out of shape.


a) in good/bad/poor etc shape in good, bad etc condition, or in good, bad etc health:

For an old car, it’s in pretty good shape.

The economy is in worse shape now than it was last year.

Kaplan seemed to be in better shape than either of us.

b) in shape/out of shape in a good or bad state of health or physical ↑ fitness ⇨ fit , unfit :

I was feeling totally out of shape.

I’ve got to get into shape before summer.

keep/stay in shape

She’s bought an exercise bike to keep in shape.

c) in no shape to do something to be sick, tired, drunk etc, and not able to do something well:

Mel was in no shape to drive home after the party.

3 . knock/lick/get somebody/something into shape to make someone or something better so that they reach the necessary standard:

Some of them lack experience, but we’ll soon knock them into shape.

4 . CHARACTER OF SOMETHING [singular] the way something looks, works, or is organized

shape of

Computers have completely changed the shape of our industry.

This new technique is the shape of things to come (=an example of the way things will develop in the future) .

5 . take shape to develop into a clear and definite form:

An idea was beginning to take shape in his mind.

6 . in the shape of something used to explain what something consists of:

Help came in the shape of a $10,000 loan from his parents.

7 . not in any shape or form ( also not in any way, shape, or form ) used to say that you will not accept something for any reason:

We will not tolerate racism in any shape or form.

8 . THING NOT SEEN CLEARLY [countable] a thing or person that you cannot see clearly enough to recognize:

A dark shape moved behind them.

• • •


■ types of shapes

▪ square a shape with four straight sides that are equal in length and four angles of 90 degrees

▪ circle a round shape that is like an O

▪ semicircle half a circle

▪ triangle a shape with three straight sides and three angles

▪ rectangle a shape with four straight sides and four angles of 90 degrees

▪ oval a shape like a circle, but that is longer than it is wide

▪ cylinder an object in the shape of a tube

▪ cube a solid object with six equal square sides

▪ pyramid a shape with a square base and four triangular sides that meet in a point at the top

▪ sphere a shape like a ball

■ describing types of shapes

▪ square shaped like a square:

a square box

▪ circular/round shaped like a circle:

a circular table

▪ semicircular shaped like a semicircle:

a semicircular arch above the door

▪ triangular shaped like a triangle:

sails divided into triangular sections

▪ rectangular shaped like a rectangle:

a simple rectangular building

▪ oval shaped like an oval:

an oval swimming pool

▪ cylindrical shaped like a cylinder:

The statue is on top of a tall cylindrical column.

▪ spherical shaped like a ball:

The planet Saturn is not completely spherical.

II. shape 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive]

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ shapeless , ↑ shapely , ↑ misshapen ; verb : ↑ shape ; noun : ↑ shape ; adverb : ↑ shapelessly ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: scieppan ]

1 . to influence something such as a belief, opinion etc and make it develop in a particular way:

People’s political beliefs are shaped by what they see in the papers.

2 . to make something have a particular shape, especially by pressing it

shape something into something

Shape the dough into small balls.

egg-shaped/V-shaped etc

an L-shaped living room

shape up phrasal verb informal

1 . to improve your behaviour or work:

You kids had better shape up, because I’m in no mood to fool around.

2 . to make progress in a particular way:

Ken’s plans for the business are shaping up nicely.

shape up as

Immigration is shaping up as a major issue in the campaign.

shape up to be something

It’s shaping up to be a pretty big party.

3 . shape up or ship out American English spoken used to tell someone that if they do not improve, they will be made to leave a place or their job

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.