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:
“Thus Kent, O princes, bids you all adieu;
Hell shape his old course in a country new.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“The structure was designed by an old sea captain who believed that the world would end in a flood. He built a home in the traditional shape of the Ark, inverted, with the roof forming the hull of the proposed vessel. The builder expected that the deluge would cause the house to topple and then reverse itself, floating away on its roof until it should land on some new Ararat.”
—For the State of New Jersey, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)
“If I commit suicide, it will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again. Suicide will be for me only one means of violently reconquering myself, of brutally invading my being, of anticipating the unpredictable approaches of God. By suicide, I reintroduce my design in nature, I shall for the first time give things the shape of my will.”
—Antonin Artaud (18961948)