shape-up

noun \ ˈshāp-ˌəp \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of shape-up

:a system of hiring workers and especially longshoremen by the day or shift by having applicants gather for each day's selection; also :an instance of such hiring practice

First Known Use of shape-up

1940


shape up

verb

Definition of shape up

intransitive verb
:to improve to a good or acceptable condition or standard of behavior
  • shaping up at the gym
transitive verb
:to bring to a good or acceptable condition or standard of behavior

Examples of shape up in a Sentence

  1. angrily told his son that if he didn't shape up, he'd be grounded for a month

  2. this group of summer interns is shaping up to be one of the best we've ever hired

Recent Examples of shape up from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shape up.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of shape up

circa 1920

shape up Synonyms

Synonyms
amend, mend, reform, straighten (up or out)
Related Words
behave, regenerate; better, improve
Near Antonyms
backslide, regress

Learn More about shape-up


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up shape-up? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to buzz or drone

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!