In any way, shape or form

In any way, shape or form is an idiom that may be older than you think. An idiom is a word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the idiom in any way, shape or form, where it may have come from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

In any way, shape or form is an idiom that means in any manner at all, in any fashion at all, in any way at all. In any way, shape or form is a redundancy, which is a phrase that repeats the same idea with different words or synonyms. The expression in any way, shape or form is used when one wants to emphasize his position. The phrase came into use in the 1700s as simply in any way or shape. By the mid-1800s, the redundant idiom in any way, shape or form was in use.


“This program will be totally transparent to the Citizens’ and Taxpayers’ review and is not in any way, shape, or form anything consisting of the City’s TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District created back in 2012/2013,” wrote Kavelman. (The State Journal-Register)

“I don’t want to compare them in any way, shape or form,” Fisher said. (Variety Magazine)

“COVID is certainly not behind us in any way shape or form, so maybe the V gets elongated some,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Reuters)

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