(1)   The spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance
"Geometry is the mathematical science of shape"
(2)   The visual appearance of something or someone
"The delicate cast of his features"
(3)   Any spatial attributes (especially as defined by outline)
"He could barely make out their shapes"
(4)   Alternative names for the body of a human being
"Leonardo studied the human body"
"He has a strong physique"
"The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak"
(5)   A perceptual structure
"The composition presents problems for students of musical form"
"A visual pattern must include not only objects but the spaces between them"
(6)   A concrete representation of an otherwise nebulous concept
"A circle was the embodiment of his concept of life"
(7)   The supreme headquarters that advises NATO on military matters and oversees all aspects of the Allied Command Europe
(8)   The state of (good) health (especially in the phrases `in condition' or `in shape' or `out of condition' or `out of shape')


(9)   Give shape or form to
"Shape the dough"
"Form the young child's character"
(10)   Shape or influence; give direction to
"Experience often determines ability"
"Mold public opinion"
(11)   Make something, usually for a specific function
"She molded the rice balls carefully"
"Form cylinders from the dough"
"Shape a figure"
"Work the metal into a sword"


  1. The status or condition of something
    The used bookshop wouldn't offer much due to the poor shape of the book.
  2. Condition of personal health, especially muscular health.
    The vet checked to see what kind of shape the animal was in.
    We exercise to keep in good physical shape.
  3. The appearance of something, especially its outline.
    He cut a square shape out of the cake.
  4. A figure with unspecified appearance; especially a geometric figure.
    What shape shall we use for the cookies? Stars, circles, or diamonds?


  1. To give something a shape and definition.
    • Shape the dough into a pretzel.
    • For my art project, I plan to shape my clay lump into a bowl.
    • 1932, The American Scholar, page 227, United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa
      The professor never pretended to the academic prerogative of forcing his students into his own channels of reasoning; he entered into and helped shape the discussion but above all he made his men learn to think for themselves and rely upon their own intellectual judgments.