"create, fashion, form," Middle English shapen, from Old English scapan, past participle of scieppan "to form, create, make out of existing materials; bring into existence; destine" (past tense scop, often used of God).
This is reconstructed to be from Proto-Germanic *skapjanan "create, ordain" (source also of Old Norse skapa, Danish skabe, Old Saxon scapan, Old Frisian skeppa, Middle Dutch schappen "do, treat," Old High German scaffan, German schaffen "shape, create, produce"), from PIE root *(s)kep-, forming words meaning "to cut, scrape, hack" (see scabies), 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.
Meaning "to form in or with the mind" is from late 14c. Also by late 14c. as "prepare, get ready." The sense of "give a definite form to" is by 1580s. Specifically as "give direction and character to" (one's life, conduct, etc.) is by 1823.
The phrase shape up (v.) is literally "to give form to by stiff or solid material;" attested from 1865 as "progress;" by 1938 as "reform oneself, pull oneself up to a standard;" alliterative variant shape up or ship out is by 1951 in the newspapers, said to be Korean War U.S. military slang, with a suggestion of "do right or get shipped up to active duty."
early 15c., diformyte, "condition of being deformed; physical malformation or distortion," especially "disproportionate or unnatural development of a part or parts," from Old French deformité "deformity, disfigurement" (Modern French difformité), from Latin deformitatem (nominative deformitas) "ugliness, hideousness, deformity," from deformis "misformed, misshapen," from deformare "put out of shape, disfigure," from de (see de-) + formare "to shape, fashion, build," also figurative, from forma "form, contour, figure, shape" (see form (n.)).
"not conformed or conforming to rule, deviating from a type or standard, contrary to system or law, irregular, unnatural," 1835, a refashioning of anormal (q.v.) under influence of Latin abnormalis "deviating from a fixed rule, irregular," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + norma "rule" (see norm).
The older form was from French anormal (13c.), from Medieval Latin anormalus, an altered (by association with norma) borrowing of Greek anomalos "uneven, irregular," from an- "not" (see an- (1)) + homalos "even," from homos "same" (from PIE root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with"). Compare anomaly. "Few words show such a series of pseudo-etymological perversions" [Weekley]. Another adjective was abnormous (1742) "irregular, misshapen," from Latin abnormis. Related: Abnormally.
"quality of perceiving a complex organization of things or events as an organized whole and also as more than the sum of the parts," 1922, from German Gestaltqualität (1890, introduced in philosophy by German philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels, 1859-1932), from German gestalt "shape, form, figure, configuration, appearance," abstracted from ungestalt "deformity," noun use of adj. ungestalt "misshapen," from gestalt, obsolete past participle of stellen "to set, place, arrange," from Old High German stellen, from Proto-Germanic *stalljanan, from PIE root *stel- "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place. As a school of psychology, it was founded c. 1912 by M. Wertheimer, K. Koffka, W. Köhler.