"...in any way, shape or form.."

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NearThere

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I heard this often nowadays, on the news, TV, radio, in a speech etc.... For instance: "Romney himself says he won't distance himself in any way, shape or form...."

I understand the "way" and "form" are being used, they seem to "fit in". But why "shape"? Most shapes that I know have to do with geometry. I didn't know a geometrical concept can be used in a speech to emphasize conviction and so forth. So why "shape"? How did this phrase come to be?
 

Anglika

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It is an idiomatic phrase saying that x cannot be y in any way whatsoever. I am not sure that there is an answer to "why was shape used" - it just is, as a means of emphasis. And shape is not merely a geometric shape, it is also "the particular appearance of something": "These cakes are all different shapes".
 

NearThere

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Haha riverkid, I blurst out laughing.

Couldn't agree with you more. Or why not "in any way, size or form", or " in any way, color or form."

p.s.: in Chinese tradition, it's considered to be disrespectful to the reciever if a letter is written in red ink.
 

NearThere

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To Riverkid:

Authorative figures are usually exempt from scrutny anyway (typical of chinese culture, at least in Taiwan back in my days). Red ink is used to bring upmost attention to mistakes that shouldn't been made therefore the dispense of "disrespect" is well justified in this case.:roll:

I have a tendency to be subtly funny or sarcastic, undetected by most who read my comments. And it leaves room for misunderstanding or unintentional offense sometimes. But I don't know how to go about not doing it, it's part of me.
 
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