- shape (v.)
- Old English scapan, past participle of scieppan "to create, form, destine," from Proto-Germanic *skapjanan "create, ordain" (cf. Old Norse skapa, Danish skabe, Old Frisian skeppa, Old High German scaffan, German schaffen), from PIE root *(s)kep- a base forming words meaning "to cut, scrape, hack" (see shave), which acquired broad technical senses and in Germanic a specific sense of "to create." Old English scieppan survived into Middle English as shippen, but shape emerged as a regular verb (with past tense shaped) by 1500s.
The old past participle form shapen survives in misshapen. Phrase Shape up (v.) is attested from 1865 as "progress;" from 1938 as "reform;" shape up or ship out is attested from 1956, originally U.S. military slang, with the sense being "do right or get shipped up to active duty."
- shape (n.)
- Old English gesceap "creation, form, destiny," from root of shape (v.)). Meaning "contours of the body" is attested from late 14c. Meaning "condition, state" is first recorded 1865, American English. In Middle English, the word also had a sense of "a woman's private parts."