—n. 1. the quality of a distinct object or body in having an external surface or outline of specific form or figure.
2. this quality as found in some individual object or body form: This lake has a peculiar shape. 3. something seen in outline, as in silhouette: A vague shape appeared through the mist. 4. an imaginary form; phantom.
5. an assumed appearance; guise: an angel in the shape of a woman. 6. a particular or definite organized form or expression: He could give no shape to his ideas. 7. proper form; orderly arrangement.
8. condition or state of repair: The old house was in bad shape. He was sick last year, but is in good shape now. 9. the collective conditions forming a way of life or mode of existence: What will the shape of the future be? 10. the figure, physique, or body of a person, esp. of a woman: A dancer can keep her shape longer than those of us who have sedentary jobs. 11. something used to give form, as a mold or a pattern.
12. Also called section.Building Trades,Metalworking. a flanged metal beam or bar of uniform section, as a channel iron, I-beam, etc.
13. Naut.a ball, cone, drum, etc., used as a day signal, singly or in combinations, to designate a vessel at anchor or engaged in some particular operation.
14. take shape, to assume a fixed form; become definite: The house is beginning to take shape.
—v.t. 1. to give definite form, shape, organization, or character to; fashion or form.
2. to couch or express in words: to shape a statement. 3. to adjust; adapt: He shaped everything to suit his taste. 4. to direct (one's course, future, etc.).
5. to file the teeth of (a saw) to uniform width after jointing.
6. Animal Behav.,Psychol.to teach (a desired behavior) to a human or other animal by successively rewarding the actions that more and more closely approximate that behavior.
7. Obs.to appoint; decree.
—v.i. 1. to come to a desired conclusion or take place in a specified way: If discussions shape properly, the companies will merge. 2. shape up, a. to assume a specific form: The plan is beginning to shape up. b. to evolve or develop, esp. favorably.
c. to improve one's behavior or performance to meet a required standard.
d. to get oneself into good physical condition.
e. (of longshoremen) to get into a line or formation in order to be assigned the day's work.
Pronunciation: (shāp),[key] —n. Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe. Also,Shape.