v. showed, shown (shōn) or showed, show·ing, shows
a. To cause or allow to be seen; display: showed us his tattoo.
b. To display for sale, in exhibition, or in competition: showed her most recent paintings.
c. To permit access to (a house, for example) when offering for sale or rent.
2. To conduct; guide: showed them to the table.
3. To direct one's attention to; point out: showed them the city's historical sites.
a. To make evident or reveal (an emotion or condition, for example): showed displeasure at his remark; a carpet that shows wear.
b. To reveal (oneself) as in one's behavior or condition: The old boat showed itself to be seaworthy.
c. To indicate; register: The altimeter showed that the plane was descending.
a. To demonstrate by reasoning or procedure: showed that the hypothesis was wrong; a film that showed how to tune a piano.
b. To demonstrate to by reasoning or procedure; inform or prove to: showed him how to fix the camera; showed her that it could really happen.
6. To grant; bestow: showed no mercy to the traitors.
1. To be or become visible or evident: Concern showed in his face.
2. Slang To make an appearance; show up: didn't show for her appointment.
a. To be exhibited publicly: What's showing at the movie theater tonight?
b. To give a performance or present an exhibition: Which artist is showing in the gallery?
4. Sports To finish third or better in a horserace or dog race.
1. A display; a manifestation: made a show of strength.
a. A trace or indication, as of oil in a well.
b. The discharge of bloody mucus from the vagina indicating the start of labor.
c. The first discharge of blood in menstruation.
3. A false appearance; a pretense: only a show of kindness.
a. A striking appearance or display; a spectacle.
b. A pompous or ostentatious display.
5. Display or outward appearance: This antique tea service is just for show. His smile was for show.
a. A public exhibition or entertainment.
b. An exposition for the display or demonstration of commercial products: an auto show.
c. A usually competitive exhibition of domestic animals: won first place at the cat show.
a. A radio or television program.
b. A movie.
c. A theatrical troupe or company.
8. Informal An affair or undertaking: ran the whole show.
9. Sports Third place at the finish, as in a horserace.
To display or behave in an ostentatious or conspicuous way.
1. To be clearly visible.
2. To put in an appearance; arrive: Don't show up late.
3. To expose or reveal the true character or nature of: showed their efforts up as a waste of time.
4. Informal To surpass, as in ability or intelligence: She shows up all the others in the chorus.
get the show on the road Slang
To get started.
show (one's) hand
1. Games To display one's cards with faces up.
2. To state one's intentions or reveal one's resources, especially when previously hidden.
show (one's) heels
To depart from quickly; flee.
show (someone) a good time
To occupy (someone) with amusing things; entertain.
[Middle English sheuen, shouen, from Old English scēawian, to look at, display.]
Synonyms: show, display, expose, parade, exhibit, flaunt
These verbs mean to present something to view. Show is the most general: "She hated to show her feelings" (John Galsworthy).
Display often suggests an attempt to present something to best advantage: The dealer spread the rug out to display the pattern. Expose usually involves uncovering something or bringing it out from concealment: The excavation exposed a staggering number of artifacts. The term can often imply revelation of something better left concealed: Your comment exposes your insensitivity. Parade usually suggests a pretentious or boastful presentation: "He early discovered that, by parading his unhappiness before the multitude, he produced an immense sensation" (Thomas Macaulay).
Exhibit implies open presentation that invites inspection: The museum is exhibiting paintings by local artists. Flaunt implies an unabashed, prideful, often arrogant display: "Every great hostelry flaunted the flag of some foreign potentate" (John Dos Passos). See Also Synonyms at appear.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.