Etymology
Advertisement

shape (v.)

Old English scapan, past participle of scieppan "to create, form, destine" (past tense scop), 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. Middle English shepster (late 14c.) "dressmaker, female cutter-out," is literally "shape-ster," from Old English scieppan.

Meaning "to form in the mind" is from late 14c. Phrase Shape up (v.) is literally "to give form to by stiff or solid material;" 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 sceap, gesceap "form; created being, creature; creation; condition; sex, genitalia," 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 in plural also had a sense of "a woman's private parts." Shape-shifter attested from 1820. Out of shape "not in proper shape" is from 1690s. Shapesmith "one who undertakes to improve the form of the body" was used in 1715.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of shape
1
shape (n.)
any spatial attributes (especially as defined by outline);
he could barely make out their shapes
shape (n.)
the spatial arrangement of something as distinct from its substance;
geometry is the mathematical science of shape
Synonyms: form
shape (n.)
a concrete representation of an otherwise nebulous concept;
Synonyms: embodiment
shape (n.)
the visual appearance of something or someone;
Synonyms: form / cast
shape (n.)
the state of (good) health (especially in the phrases `in condition' or `in shape' or `out of condition' or `out of shape');
Synonyms: condition
shape (n.)
the supreme headquarters that advises NATO on military matters and oversees all aspects of the Allied Command Europe;
Synonyms: Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
shape (n.)
a perceptual structure;
Synonyms: form / pattern
shape (n.)
alternative names for the body of a human being;
Synonyms: human body / physical body / material body / soma / build / figure / physique / anatomy / bod / chassis / frame / form / flesh
2
shape (v.)
shape or influence; give direction to;
Synonyms: determine / mold / influence / regulate
shape (v.)
make something, usually for a specific function;
shape a figure
Synonyms: form / work / mold / mould / forge
shape (v.)
give shape or form to;
shape the dough
Synonyms: form
From wordnet.princeton.edu