\ ˈshāp-ˌəp How to pronounce shape-up (audio) \

Definition of shape-up

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

shape up

shaped up; shaping up; shapes up

Definition of shape up (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Examples of shape-up in a Sentence

Verb angrily told his son that if he didn't shape up, he'd be grounded for a month this group of summer interns is shaping up to be one of the best we've ever hired
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And as some restrictions have begun to ease, a foreshortened touring schedule has begun to shape up. David Lyman, The Enquirer, "Live theater is back! Actors live, travel together to bring it back safely," 27 June 2020 President Trump is making his mark on what’s shaping up to be another infrastructure week in Congress. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Trump pursues infrastructure boost via administrative action," 4 June 2020 Orange County’s beaches — which Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered closed last week because of crowding concerns — are also back open in a limited capacity for what’s shaping up to be a picture-postcard sque weekend. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus death toll rises to 71 in Orange County," 8 May 2020 The coronavirus pandemic is devastating global travel, causing business to evaporate and forcing companies to slash payroll in what’s shaping up to be the biggest test the modern travel industry has ever faced. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Coronavirus Sends Travel Business and Millions It Employs Into All-Out Crisis," 17 Mar. 2020 Castro’s departure won’t change the strategic contours of a primary race that’s shaping up as a battle between Biden, Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: As a presidential contender, Julián Castro left it all on the field," 2 Jan. 2020 While others are talking, the Chinese are busy building out capacity in Arnstadt for what’s shaping up to be another clean energy fight. Richard Weiss,, "Europe Floors It in the Race to Dominate Car Batteries," 29 Oct. 2019 In the meantime, McSally is raising millions of dollars for what is shaping up to be one of the costliest Senate races this cycle. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "Sen. Martha McSally's GOP primary rival challenges her to at least three debates," 7 Jan. 2020 Seeding could take a considerable swing after Brecksville (6-2) visits Wadsworth (6-2) in Week 10 for what is shaping up to be a Suburban League National Division title game. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Who has the most to gain (and lose) in the last two weeks? HS football quick hits," 21 Oct. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of shape-up


1940, in the meaning defined above


circa 1920, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Time Traveler for shape-up

Time Traveler

The first known use of shape-up was circa 1920

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Cite this Entry

“Shape-up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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