Entries linking to misshapen
prefix of Germanic origin affixed to nouns and verbs and meaning "bad, wrong," from Old English mis-, from Proto-Germanic *missa- "divergent, astray" (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon mis-, Middle Dutch misse-, Old High German missa-, German miß-, Old Norse mis-, Gothic missa-), perhaps literally "in a changed manner," and with a root sense of "difference, change" (compare Gothic misso "mutually"), and thus possibly from PIE *mit-to-, from root *mei- (1) "to change."
Productive as word-forming element in Old English (as in mislæran "to give bad advice, teach amiss"). In 14c.-16c. in a few verbs its sense began to be felt as "unfavorably," and it came to be used as an intensive prefix with words already expressing negative feeling (as in misdoubt). Practically a separate word in Old and early Middle English (and often written as such). Old English also had an adjective (mislic "diverse, unlike, various") and an adverb (mislice "in various directions, wrongly, astray") derived from it, corresponding to German misslich (adj.). It has become confused with mis- (2).
"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.
The 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."
updated on January 30, 2019
Dictionary entries near misshapen