Language: Old English
Origin: sceawian 'to look, look at, see'


1 verb
Related topics: Film, Painting and Drawing
show1 S1 W1 past tense showed, past participle shown

let somebody see

[transitive] to let someone see something
show somebody something
The children proudly showed me their presents.
show something to somebody
Show your ticket to the woman at the entrance.
The man grinned, showing bad teeth.

prove something

[transitive] to provide facts or information that make it clear that something is true, that something exists, or that something has happened:
Figures showed a 9% rise in inflation.
Gary has shown his faith in the club's future by agreeing to stay on.
show (that)
Mike needed a copy of the will to show that the books had been left to him.
show somebody (that)
We have shown our critics that we can succeed.
show how
This document shows how to oppose bad decisions about new housing.
show what
She just wants a chance to show what she can do.
show somebody/something to be something
Charles showed himself to be a fine leader.
be shown to be/do something
The campaign has been shown to be a waste of money.
The new treatment has been shown to reduce the number of deaths.
studies/evidence/research etc shows
Several studies have shown that aggressive toys lead to bad behaviour.
The Polish economy began to show signs of recovery.
It just goes to show (=proves) how much people judge each other on how they look.


[transitive] to let your feelings, attitudes, or personal qualities be clearly seen:
Think positively and show some determination.
She had learned not to show her emotions.
It was the sound a man might make when in pain but trying not to show it.
Mary showed great interest in the children.

explain with actions

[transitive] to explain to someone how to do something, by doing it yourself or using actions to help them learn
show somebody how
Show me how the gun works.
show somebody how to do something
Maureen showed Peter how to feed the young animals.
show somebody something
Can you show Lucy the way to slice onions?

picture/map etc

[transitive] if a picture, map etc shows something, you can see it on the picture, map etc:
I want a photograph that shows his face.
The map shows the main rivers of the region.

guide somebody

[transitive] to go with someone and guide them to a place
show somebody to/into something
Can you show Mrs Davies to the bathroom?
show somebody out/in
I can show myself out (=out of the office or house).
show somebody something
Come on, I'll show you the way.

point at something

[transitive] to let someone see where a place or thing is, especially by pointing to it
show somebody where
Can you show me exactly where he fell?


[intransitive and transitive]AMF to make a film or television programme available on a screen for people to see, or to be on a screen:
The film was shown on television last night.
The match was shown live (=could be seen on television while it was being played).
It's now showing at cinemas across London.
showing (1)

be easy to see

[intransitive] if something shows, it is easy to see:
His happiness showed in his face.
Her scar doesn't show, because her hair covers it.
Stephen was worried and it showed.


[transitive] if material shows the dirt or a mark, it is easy to see the dirt or mark on it:
Light-coloured clothes tend to show the dirt.


[transitive] to have an increase or decrease in something, or a profit or loss:
The price of players is the reason why many football clubs show big losses on their balance sheets.
Recent elections have shown significant gains by right-wing groups.


[transitive]AVP to put a group of paintings or other works of art in one place so that people can come and see them:
Her recent sculptures are being shown at the Hayward Gallery.
The Whitney Museum was the first to show Mapplethorpe's photographs.

I'll show him/them etc

spoken used to say that you will prove to someone that you are better, more effective etc than they think you are

have something to show for something

to have something as a result of what you have been doing:
If he fails, he'll have nothing to show for his time at school.
She had plenty of money to show for all her work.

show your face

if you will not show your face somewhere, you will not go there because you have a good reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed about being there:
She never shows her face around here.

show your hand

to make your true power or intentions clear, especially after you have been keeping them secret:
There were so many rumours that the company was forced to show its hand.


[transitive]DS to put an animal into a competition with other animals:
Do you plan to show your dogs?


also show up [intransitive] informal especially American English to arrive at the place where someone is waiting for you:
I went to meet Hank, but he never showed.

show somebody in a good/bad etc light

if an action shows you in a good or bad light, it makes people have a good or bad opinion of you:
During an interview you need to show yourself in the best possible light.

show somebody the door

to make it clear that someone is not welcome and should leave

show (somebody) who's boss

informal to prove to someone who is threatening your authority that you are more powerful than they are:
You've got to show your dog who's boss. When you say sit, he should sit.

show the way

if you show the way for other people, you do something new that others then try to copy

show a leg!

British English spoken used to tell someone to get out of bed

show (somebody) a clean pair of heels

British English old-fashioned informal to run away very fast

show me the money

American English spoken informal used to tell someone to give or pay you a lot of money, rather than just talk about the fact that they will give it to you

show somebody around (something)

phrasal verb
to go around a place with someone when they first arrive there, to show them what is interesting, useful etc:
Harrison showed her around the house.

show off

phrasal verb
1 to try to make people admire your abilities, achievements, or possessions - used to show disapproval:
He couldn't resist showing off on the tennis court.

show something ↔ off

to show something to a lot of people because you are very proud of it:
a picture of the restaurant's owners showing off their award

show something ↔ off

if one thing shows off something else, it makes the other thing look especially attractive:
The white dress showed off her dark skin beautifully.

show somebody over something

phrasal verb
to guide someone through an interesting building or a house that is for sale:
Ingrid has a job showing visitors over the castle.

show up

phrasal verb
1 informal to arrive, especially at the place where someone is waiting for you [= turn up]:
Seth showed up, apologising for being late.
We had 200 people show up for our seminar.

show something ↔ up

to make it possible to see or notice something that was not clear before:
The sunlight showed up the marks on the window.
3 to be easy to see or notice:
Use a light colour which will show up on a dark background.

show somebody ↔ up

to make someone feel embarrassed by behaving in a stupid or unacceptable way when you are with them:
She says I showed her up in front of her friends when they came to the house.

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