Definition of shave in English:



  • 1[no object] (of a man) cut the hair off the face with a razor:

    ‘he washed, shaved, and had breakfast’
    • ‘And when she looked closer, she could tell he had shaved, and brushed his teeth and washed his hair.’
    • ‘And they were both accompanying this dude with brown hair that looked like he hadn't shaved for days.’
    • ‘Maybe if those guys shaved like everyone else they'd look good.’
    • ‘Sometimes, though, a simple operation can help, shaving off the bits of bone that have overgrown.’
    • ‘He'd not shaved, nor, from the looks of it, brushed his hair.’
    • ‘That's funnier if you know that he was shaving at the time and had no clothes on.’
    • ‘He has not shaved in days, and knows something is wrong.’
    • ‘There's a reason why he only shaves once a week - mirrors are expensive.’
    • ‘He hadn't shaved in days and his brown hair was beginning to get greasy, not having been washed.’
    • ‘As the weeks went on, Kevin started shaving before he showed up on his son's meeting nights.’
    • ‘He can shave, drive, brush his teeth, write, dial a telephone, hold his children's hands, and feel sensations like pain and temperatures.’
    • ‘Apparently, he hadn't shaved for a few days and his thick dark hair was in desperate need of a haircut.’
    • ‘The man shaving in his bathroom unconsciously nicks himself, while his wife goes about her mundane everyday duty of making his breakfast - perfectly.’
    • ‘Maybe I'll just shave on days when I'm going to see Marianne.’
    • ‘They celebrated, they played music, they danced, they crowded into movie theaters, men shaved.’
    • ‘He even shaved, although he had to borrow my razor.’
    • ‘Of all the men, he was the only one who looked as if he'd shaved or brushed his teeth during the last week.’
    • ‘Keith was shaving, and so I grabbed a clean towel and washed my face.’
    • ‘I noticed he had shaved and cut his hair so he resembled that boyish man I thought I knew three years ago.’
    • ‘He hasn't shaved, his hair is unkempt and he's wearing the same clothes he left in three days ago.’
    • ‘He had managed to tame his usually ruffled hair and he had shaved.’
    cut off, snip off
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    1. 1.1[with object] Cut the hair off (a part of the body) with a razor:
      ‘she shaved her legs’
      • ‘A ‘pet trim’ involves shaving the body and creating a pompom effect on the tail and legs.’
      • ‘I thanked the heaven that I had shaved my legs the previous day.’
      • ‘And the smaltz is shocking, we had to shave our whole bodies after the screening because we'd never have been able to wash to the cheese out of our hair.’
      • ‘Before the operation, part of the scrotum may need to be shaved to prevent hairs getting caught in the wound.’
      • ‘When I got home and I was shaving my legs I thought I was going to faint.’
      • ‘Cecilia leaned over and picked up a razor and started to shave her legs while the conditioner settled into her hair.’
      • ‘Either she was hairless or she shaved herself completely because there was not a whisper of hair.’
      • ‘His head and legs had already been shaved and he had said good-bye to his mother in Edinburgh.’
      • ‘She was in a black tank top and shorts, thanking gods that she had shaved her legs the day before.’
      • ‘His head and legs had been shaved in readiness for the electrodes.’
      • ‘Thank the hallowed shrine of chipmunk heaven that I shaved my legs this morning.’
      • ‘Go to the link to see the photograph of the teenaged girl who is shaving her head bald so that she can stay in school.’
      • ‘The area to be tattooed is shaved (to prevent hair clogging the machine), and disinfected with an antiseptic solution.’
      • ‘As a woman who does not shave her body, I have encountered many different perspectives on what women are supposed to be according to society.’
    2. 1.2[with object] Cut the hair off the face or another part of the body of (someone) with a razor:
      ‘his wife washed and shaved him’
      • ‘The circulating nurse shaves the patient's surgical leg from 3 inches to 4 inches above the knee to 4 inches below the patella, laterally and medially.’
      • ‘The team was even shaved of their hair, forcing them to dawn similar masks to hide their bald heads.’
      • ‘Although he is a soldier, his only work so far is to tend to his captain's needs - taking off his jacket and shaving him while swallowing every harsh remark made to him by his superior.’
      • ‘The barber, a small man with a bald, white fringed, head and bright blue eyes looked up from the man he was shaving.’
      • ‘One Friday, Claude sat as still as an angel on a church window while I brushed his hair and shaved him.’
      • ‘When a passer-by told him that he was offering his service to a government servant, Vairappan abruptly stopped shaving the official's beard.’
      • ‘She'd been too busy trying not to cut him with the razor to notice when she'd shaved him.’
      • ‘Anyway, in the middle of my usual bath and hair shampoo routine, she gets out Dad's razor and shaves me!’
      • ‘Will you drop this charade or am I going to have to shave you bald and put you out in the cold?’
      • ‘Besides cutting hair and shaving men, he was a dab hand at sharpening old style cut throat razors, as well as scissor sharpening.’
      • ‘If it was the man who wanted a divorce, his wife could shave him and make him her slave.’
      • ‘I thought the barber might misunderstand me and shave me back to the Ching Dynasty.’
      • ‘A couple of years ago, the vet accidentally shaved him.’
      • ‘She took her time shaving him, making his face perfect, but from what she could see, even with the beard, he was beautifully made.’
      • ‘Me and Nancy were shaving him when he began to cry and he doesn't want explain us the problem.’
      • ‘The hind leg of each animal to be used was shaved prior to the experiment.’
      • ‘He was thankful they hadn't shaved him bald yet, at least.’
      • ‘After shaving Ollie, the barber would apply talc to his cheeks and say, ‘nice-a-baby.’’
      • ‘The nurse said that they were shaving him when he started crying.’
      • ‘We will be shaving your most private places for this operation.’
    3. 1.3 Cut (hair) off with a razor:
      ‘professional male swimmers shave off their body hair’
      • ‘Another favourite jape is to get the bridegroom blind drunk and then shave off all his hair, including his eyebrows and where the sun does not shine.’
      • ‘The double picked up its razor and began to shave off the neglected facial hair.’
      • ‘Also round about this time fleas and body lice were rampant and so most people shaved their body hair.’
      • ‘However, I opted to shave all of my hair on this occasion.’
      • ‘He's got contacts, and he recently shaved off his brown hair.’
      • ‘Pink begins his transformation into a fascist leader in a painful scene of shaving his body hair.’
      • ‘He had shaved off all of his hair when he was giving a show one night.’
      • ‘He said: ‘The only way to remove the evidence is to shave all body hair.’’
      • ‘His hair had been shaved off but his eyebrows were black, or dark brown and his eyes a deep, drowning blue.’
      • ‘He woke the next morning with a hangover like a gunshot wound and the discovery that his hair and eyebrows had been shaved off.’
      • ‘The ad commercial was to be shot in just over a day and I was asked to shave off my hair.’
      • ‘A small amount of hair may be shaved from your groin or arm where the catheter is inserted.’
      • ‘Your hair will not be shaved, but it may be tied back into a ponytail if it is long.’
      • ‘Now, their hair and beards will be shaved for hygienic purposes.’
      • ‘It is a good idea to have a razor available to shave off any hair that may prevent the Band-Aid from sticking.’
      • ‘Papa had to shave his thick auburn hair because of a case of head lice.’
      • ‘So he could better see his body, he shaved the hair from his chest.’
      • ‘By age 10, most were shaving downy body hair to gain extra speed and realizing the reward for a year of hard work was improvement measured in tenths of a second.’
      • ‘He had black hair that was shaved down into a short cut.’
      • ‘There is a young nun but her master has shaved off all her hair.’
  • 2[with object] Cut (a thin slice or slices) from the surface of something:

    ‘scrape a large sharp knife across the surface, shaving off rolls of very fine chocolate’
    • ‘The method by which it was proposed that the requisite reduction in weight would be effected was by shaving off the keel as cast the appropriate weight of lead.’
    • ‘Truffles can be shaved and put into a sauce, under the skin of roasting chicken, or into a plate of eggs.’
    • ‘Get into the habit of shaving thin slices off a piece of cheese rather than cutting a large chunk.’
    • ‘The secret is to shave lemon rind into the batter, but not too much.’
    • ‘This sort of abuse will break a too brittle blade or loosen a flimsy blade pivot, but it stood up to this challenge before shaving off more ribbons of paper as cleanly as it had at the beginning.’
    • ‘First he was the guy at the window of the kebab shop shaving off the slivers of meat, then he was the local sandwich-maker and now he appears to be selling all manner of household wares smaller than a toaster.’
    • ‘This was done by shaving off part of one of the sides, and then shaving off some of the thinnest edge to make a flat plank.’
    • ‘They can tell when the lid of a cookie jar has been disturbed and notice when a quarter inch slice has been shaved off a chocolate cake.’
    • ‘By binding trees together, after shaving off some bark, the trees grow together from the point where they fuse.’
    • ‘Like a sculptor shaving off bits of marble to shape a statue, organisms use cell death to shape developing organs, including the brain.’
    • ‘With the beveled side of the blade against the stone, rub the sharp edge of the blade toward the stone in a curved motion, as if you were trying to shave off a thin slice from the stone.’
    • ‘This year, for example, the Brussels sprouts might be shaved and sautéed with pine nuts and bacon.’
    • ‘The cross section of the cervical tissue containing both the epithelium and stroma was exposed by shaving off layers of the embedding medium and tissue using a cryostat.’
    • ‘Then he stands up and proceeds to shave very thin slices of cheese from a large wheel of Gouda.’
    • ‘Grate or shave the chocolate so that the pieces are small and thin enough to melt quickly.’
    • ‘Some lesions can be shaved down to the level of the surrounding skin, either using a surgical blade or electro-surgery, which uses an alternating current to destroy skin tissue.’
    • ‘He shaved ultrathin slices from the samples and studied them under a light microscope.’
    • ‘It also melts well; and is eaten as a table cheese - thin slivers shaved off it make a good appetizer.’
    • ‘They can be used in any way celeriac is served and are particularly good with a simple oil-and-vinegar dressing into which a little onion has been shaved.’
    plane off, pare off, shear off, whittle off, scrape off
    grate, shred
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    1. 2.1 Take (a small amount) from something:
      ‘she shaved 0.5 seconds off the British junior record’
      • ‘It is expected to generate up to a fifth of electricity used on campus, shaving some £3,000 off fuel bills each year.’
      • ‘Every little bit that's shaved or drilled off the pyramid is irreplaceable, and it represents an erosion of something that should be preserved.’
      • ‘Half of the local authority buildings are leased, and the new building would shave a significant amount off its spending on rent.’
      • ‘These engines are around 135 lb and some weight could be shaved off.’
      • ‘If he'd just shave 20 minutes off his movies, he'd have a joyous, more focused audience walking out of the theatre.’
      • ‘This shaves an impressive 4 oz of weight from the bantamweight pistol, which only tips the scales at 24 oz empty, with the mag.’
      • ‘For what it comes down to is shaving half an hour from the show.’
      • ‘It is paid not only for its participation in the program, but also based on the amount of power it shaves from its utility demand.’
      • ‘Then our time margins were further shaved by an additional hour waiting for the new replacement part for the copilot's instrument power generator.’
      • ‘In the first case, you won't know the true dimensions, so you will build conservatively, shaving off inches to try to make sure that the bookcase will fit.’
      • ‘This tax benefit, acting essentially as a tax rebate, shaved off massive amounts of money from the tech company's tax bills.’
      • ‘All of the courses are modeled in the same manner, shaving off a polygon here and there to save on system resources.’
      • ‘The recession shaved another $929 billion from the surplus projection, or about one-quarter of the loss.’
      • ‘Further work now underway is expected to shave another 25 percent of the bulk and mass.’
      • ‘Some £10,000 will be shaved from the tourism marketing budget.’
      • ‘Will better skis, more expensive wax or an extra helping of spaghetti help me shave a few minutes off last year's time?’
      • ‘Opt for pumpkin pie instead of pecan and shave 200 calories off your meal.’
      • ‘About €25 billion was shaved from its market value last year.’
      • ‘By shaving off 5 degrees on each side of this orb, one notices another interesting phenomenon emerging.’
      • ‘Even shaving just a small slice away from Democrats could prove pivotal to cementing the GOP's status as the majority party.’
      take off, remove from, lop off, cut off
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    2. 2.2 Reduce by a small amount:
      ‘they shaved profit margins’
      • ‘Because she works a busy sales and marketing job, shaving off a few dollars here and there is not a priority.’
      • ‘Why not carry out the entire drug discovery to drug manufacturing process out in the spirit of helping others, and shave costs by shaving profits?’
      • ‘Again and again, he is shaving away any decent territory for a Tory revival.’
      • ‘Market forces would have led carriers to tighten security and shave waiting time to lure back passengers.’
      reduce, cut, bring down, lessen, decrease, make smaller, prune, pare down, shrink, slim down, whittle down
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  • 3[with object] Pass or send something close to (something else), missing it narrowly:

    ‘Scott shaved the post in the 29th minute’
    • ‘He twice went close early in the second spell shaving the framework first with a header, then a shot.’
    • ‘Shane Glover went close for Harps as did Patrick Dowling when his volley shaved the upright.’
    • ‘A few of our kicks shaved the post and in the end there were only two points in it.’
    • ‘The first warning sign this time came when Henry fed a square pass to Dennis Bergkamp, whose drive from 20 yards shaved a post.’
    • ‘McLaren was often the instigator, and just after the hour mark, he danced to the byline and delivered a cross which caused a moment of panic for Nick Colgan, as it shaved his far post.’
    • ‘He went tantalisingly close to levelling the game when two long range penalties shaved the outside of the posts.’
    • ‘Kicking into the teeth of a severe wind Ryan Cunningham was unfortunate in just shaving the posts.’
    • ‘United narrowly escaped going three behind when Kerr let loose from long range with his drive shaving the right-hand post.’
    • ‘McLaren's skimming drive shaved the outside of the post whilst Templeman finally showed his worth with a rising drive McGovern was only too happy to help over the bar.’
    • ‘Villa were unlucky after only five minutes when Brian Kenny shot just shaved the post.’
    • ‘He beat two defenders before unleashing a powerful low ball that shaved the inside of the post for a brilliant goal.’
    • ‘They both had good efforts, the Norwegian's shot shaving the outside of a post.’
    • ‘While they did kick a few wides in the second quarter most of them were shots that just shaved the post on the wrong side.’
    • ‘Chris Ince had a goal disallowed and Tim Downie shaved a post after a fine run, while Chris Burn pulled off several fine stops in the York goal.’
    • ‘He firstly saw his shot gathered by Stuart Addis and then shaved the post with a long range effort from the right wing.’
    • ‘He then went close for the Rams but his shot narrowly shaved the crossbar.’
    • ‘That the Faroes would not be easily subdued was clear early in the second half when an exquisite Borg free kick from 25 yards out shaved the junction of Scotland's bar and post.’
    • ‘On the hour mark Moreau picked out Fernandez in the box and he looked sure to score, but the outcome was another near miss, his shot shaving the post.’
    • ‘He shaved the right hand post with his attempted conversion.’
    • ‘The ball shaved the wrong side of the post and sent the Town supporters delirious.’
    touch lightly, brush, brush against, graze, glance off, kiss
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  • An act of shaving hair from the face or a part of the body:

    ‘you need a shave’
    • ‘Like Brecht, he always seemed exactly three days away from a shave, a minor physiological miracle.’
    • ‘The blade will glide over your scalp, giving you one great shave.’
    • ‘Olive oil is actually wonderful for your skin in general and, when used in place of shaving cream, can provide you with a much closer shave.’
    • ‘So, seeing as how it is part of a clean-cut look men are trying to perfect, here are some tips on getting that perfect, nick-free shave.’
    • ‘Inside the second wardrobe were more clothes - a man's clothes, and on the washstand basin were a few short light hairs from a recent shave.’
    • ‘It will hold moisture on the leg longer and provide a very smooth shave.’
    • ‘He had longish brown hair and looked like he hadn't had a shave in weeks.’
    • ‘Rather than stand in awe of his suppressed and frustrated creative forces I'm more inclined to tell him, sharply, to have a shower and a shave and put some clean clothes on, for goodness sake.’
    • ‘Smear on a little and your razor just glides over your skin, giving you a super-close, super-silky shave.’
    • ‘Having a shave and getting rid of unwanted body hair in the heat or sauna is also supposed to be relaxing for the nerves and skin.’
    • ‘Other than that, a new shirt and decent shave wouldn't hurt.’
    • ‘She would not take the time to scrape her scalp clean in a shave… but her hair needed to be as short as she could manage it this day.’
    • ‘He had to admit he felt better after a long hot shower, a shave and clean clothes.’
    • ‘Fifteen days later, the transgenic mice needed another shave, but there were no signs of new hair growth on the control mice.’
    • ‘He had started when there was no electricity in the town and in his first years carried out more shaves than hair cuts.’
    • ‘This year, three club members are growing their hair for a head shave at the event, where they can hopefully retain the title of leading fundraising team.’
    • ‘That said, there's less razor burn than from other electric razors I've used, but far more than I get from a normal wet shave.’
    • ‘The consequence that interests us the most here is that you'll be able to achieve a much closer shave.’
    • ‘I've had my hair cut and a shave and tomorrow I'm going to grab myself a job hopefully.’
    • ‘But when the curtain came down on the final show Terry took centre stage with a sponsored shave of not just his facial hair - but his entire head.’


Old English sc(e)afan ‘scrape away the surface of (something) by paring’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch schaven and German schaben.