Numo told me:
"An object is something perceptible by one or more of the senses...by
vision or touch... It is a material thing. Or it is a purpose, aim or goal
of a specific action or effort."
"A shape is an enclosed line. It is something distinguished from its
surroundings by an outline."
My opinion about "object" in vector based programs.
A line is an object with all its characteristics: shape, thickness, length,
colour etc. Each combination of lines, closed forms, closed forms with
colour and text is (in vector based programs) one object if you group them.
You can change the whole object at once. An object in vector bases programs
is much more a thing with many characteristics than a shape with only two
Melissa said something equal (but in much better English).
"My surmise is that they are called objects due to the construction of the
items. In Illustrator or other vector based programs, any created item
(whether it be a square or a curved line) is formed from a series of
malleable but mathemetical lines between two dots. Independent
manipulation of the items might also play a part in the terms."