The shape (Old English: gesceap, created thing) of an object located in some space is a geometrical description of the part of that space occupied by the object, as determined by its external boundary – abstracting from location and orientation in space, size, and other properties such as colour, content, and material composition.
Mathematician and statistician David George Kendall writes:
In this paper ‘shape’ is used in the vulgar sense, and means what one would normally expect it to mean. We here define ‘shape’ informally as ‘all the geometrical information that remains when location, scale and rotational effects are filtered out from an object.’
Simple shapes can be described by basic geometry objects such as a set of two or more points, a line, a curve, a plane, a plane figure (e.g. square or circle), or a solid figure (e.g. cube or sphere). Most shapes occurring in the physical world are complex. Some, such as plant structures and coastlines, may be so arbitrary as to defy traditional mathematical description – in which case they may be analyzed by differential geometry, or as fractals.
Famous quotes containing the word shape:
“I know that each stage is not going to last forever. I used to think that when he was little. Whenever he was in a bad stage I thought that he was going to be like that for the rest of his life and that Id better do something to shape him up. When he was in a good state, I thought he was going to be a perfect child and I would never have to worry; he was always going to stay that way.”
—Anonymous Parent of An Eight-Year-Old. As quoted in Between Generations by Ellen Galinsky, ch. 4 (1981)
“We cannot shape our children according to our ideas,
We must keep and love them as God gave them to us.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (17491832)
“Must a name mean something? Alice asked doubtfully.
Of course it must, Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: my name means the shape I amand a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.”
—Lewis Carroll [Charles Lutwidge Dodgson] (18321898)