Shape vs Define - What's the difference?

shape | define |

In obsolete|lang=en terms the difference between shape and define

is that shape is (obsolete) to imagine; to conceive while define is (obsolete) to settle, decide (an argument etc).

As nouns the difference between shape and define

is that shape is the status or condition of something while define is (computing|programming) a kind of macro in source code that replaces one text string with another wherever it occurs.

As verbs the difference between shape and define

is that shape is to give something a shape and definition while define is to determine with precision; to mark out with distinctness; to ascertain or exhibit clearly.

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?




(en noun)
  • The status or condition of something
  • The used bookshop wouldn't offer much due to the poor shape of the book.
  • Condition of personal health, especially muscular health.
  • The vet checked to see what kind of shape the animal was in.
    We exercise to keep in good physical shape .
  • The appearance of something, especially its outline.
  • He cut a square shape out of the cake.
  • A figure with unspecified appearance; especially a geometric figure.
  • What shape shall we use for the cookies? Stars, circles, or diamonds?
  • Form; formation.
  • * 2006 , Berdj Kenadjian, Martin Zakarian, From Darkness to Light :
  • What if God's plans and actions do mold the shape of human events?
  • (iron manufacture) A rolled or hammered piece, such as a bar, beam, angle iron, etc., having a cross section different from merchant bar.
  • (iron manufacture) A piece which has been roughly forged nearly to the form it will receive when completely forged or fitted.
  • A mould for making jelly, blancmange etc., or a piece of such food formed moulded into a particular shape.
  • *1918 , (Rebecca West), The Return of the Soldier , Virago 2014, p. 74:
  • *:‘And if I'm late for supper there's a dish of macaroni cheese you must put in the oven and a tin of tomatoes to eat with it. And there's a little rhubarb and shape .’
  • Hyponyms

    * See also

    Derived terms

    * contest shape * * in no shape to * * in shape * out of shape * shapeless * shapely * shapesmith * shape-shifter * shape-shifting * shipshape * take shape * the shape of things to come * whip into shape

    See also



  • To give something a shape and definition.
  • * 1932 , The American Scholar , page 227, United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa
  • The professor never pretended to the academic prerogative of forcing his students into his own channels of reasoning; he entered into and helped shape the discussion but above all he made his men learn to think for themselves and rely upon their own intellectual judgments.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-03, volume=408, issue=8847, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Revenge of the nerds , passage=Think of banking today and the image is of grey-suited men in towering skyscrapers. Its future, however, is being shaped in converted warehouses and funky offices in San Francisco, New York and London, where bright young things in jeans and T-shirts huddle around laptops, sipping lattes or munching on free food.}}
  • To form or manipulate something into a certain shape.
  • * Prior
  • Grace shaped her limbs, and beauty decked her face.
  • * {{quote-news, year=2010, date=December 29, author=Mark Vesty, work=BBC
  • , title= Wigan 2-2 Arsenal , passage=Bendtner's goal-bound shot was well saved by goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi but fell to Arsahvin on the edge of the area and the Russian swivelled, shaped his body and angled a sumptuous volley into the corner. }}
  • (of a country, person, etc) To give influence to.
  • To suit; to be adjusted or conformable.
  • (Shakespeare)
  • (obsolete) To imagine; to conceive.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Oft my jealousy / Shapes faults that are not.


    * (give shape) form, mold

    Derived terms

    * beshape * foreshape * forshape * misshape * overshape * shape up


    * * * 1000 English basic words





  • To determine with precision; to mark out with distinctness; to ascertain or exhibit clearly.
  • * Sir (Isaac Newton)
  • Ringsvery distinct and well defined .
  • *{{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=July-August, author= Lee S. Langston
  • , title= The Adaptable Gas Turbine , passage=Turbines have been around for a long time—windmills and water wheels are early examples. The name comes from the Latin turbo'', meaning ''vortex , and thus the defining property of a turbine is that a fluid or gas turns the blades of a rotor, which is attached to a shaft that can perform useful work.}}
  • (obsolete) To settle, decide (an argument etc.).
  • * 1596 , (Edmund Spenser), (The Faerie Queene) , IV.3:
  • These warlike Champions, all in armour shine, / Assembled were in field the chalenge to define .
  • To express the essential nature of something.
  • *{{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=May-June, author=
  • , volume=101, issue=3, page=178, magazine=(American Scientist) , title= Crinkly Curves , passage=Cantor defined a one-to-one correspondence between the points of the square and the points of the line segment. Every point in the square was associated with a single point in the segment; every point in the segment was matched with a unique point in the square.}}
  • To state the meaning of a word, phrase, sign, or symbol.
  • To describe, explain, or make definite and clear.
  • To demark sharply the outlines or limits of an area or concept.
  • *{{quote-magazine, year=2012, month=March-April, author=(Jan Sapp)
  • , volume=100, issue=2, page=164, magazine=(American Scientist) , title= Race Finished , passage=Few concepts are as emotionally charged as that of race. The word conjures up a mixture of associations—culture, ethnicity, genetics, subjugation, exclusion and persecution. But is the tragic history of efforts to define groups of people by race really a matter of the misuse of science, the abuse of a valid biological concept?}}
  • (mathematics) To establish the referent of a term or notation.
  • Derived terms

    * definable * definer


    (en noun)
  • (computing, programming) A kind of macro in source code that replaces one text string with another wherever it occurs.
  • * 1996 , James Gosling, Henry McGilton, The Java Language Environment
  • From the computer programming perspective, Java looks like C and C++ while discarding the overwhelming complexities of those languages, such as typedefs, defines , preprocessor, unions, pointers, and multiple inheritance.
  • * 1999 , Ian Joyner, Objects unencapsulated: Java, Eiffel, and C++ (page 309)
  • Anyone who has attempted to do OO programming in a conventional language using defines will find out that it is impossible to realize the benefits easily, if at all, without compiler support.


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