\ 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

Synonyms for shape-up

Synonyms: Verb

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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 Mark Zuckerberg had already warned his employees to shape up or ship out. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 19 July 2022 And that doesn’t shape up as especially appetizing, either. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 June 2022 Forecasters have other clues to how the hurricane season might shape up. Nick Shay, The Conversation, 18 May 2022 Now, billionaire CEOs of some of tech's biggest companies are starting to adopt a sterner approach, implying that employees must either shape up or ship out — possibly with the intention of encouraging layoffs by attrition. Rishi Iyengar, CNN, 7 July 2022 This season could shape up to be the first trophy-less one in over a decade. Emmet Gates, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 Putting a piece on either generates a new piece on the other that is proportional. Pick the shape up with your mouse, then place it on a grid made of black-and-white squares. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 22 Apr. 2022 The Phoenix Mercury continues to shape up its coaching staff with Arizona State assistant coach Nikki Blue and UC Irvine assistant coach Cinnamon Lister joining the upcoming season. Jenna Ortiz, The Arizona Republic, 31 Mar. 2022 But the next two weeks will be important in how the start of recovery will shape up. Kellie Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Oct. 2021 See More

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


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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Dictionary Entries Near shape-up

shape up


shaping dies

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Statistics for shape-up

Cite this Entry

“Shape-up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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