\ 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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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 Those with tickets are eager to see what could shape up as a wild summer, with some of the biggest names in the sport trying to break through to victory lane. Pete Iacobelli,, 1 June 2021 How could the draft shape up with them leading the way? Matt Goul, cleveland, 10 May 2021 These sorts of investments, as well as initiatives to improve access to loans, could help small firms to shape up, and new ones to start up. The Economist, 18 Mar. 2021 Then, the big wild card is how the forecast will shape up for the final third of March. Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2021 So the committee plans to see how the brackets shape up before addressing concerns that a 16-team bracket would create too many non-competitive matchups. Nate Weitzer,, 4 Feb. 2021 State polls were dominated by Greater Cincinnati schools in 2020 and the state tournaments could shape up to be the same. Alex Harrison, The Enquirer, 3 Nov. 2020 This game could shape up to be a repeat of the Saints' thumping of the Buccaneers — though New Orleans isn't facing a future Hall of Fame quarterback this week. Jeff Nowak,, 13 Dec. 2020 Now Christmas could shape up to be worse than Thanksgiving pandemic-wise, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday. Chronicle Staff,, 10 Dec. 2020

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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Statistics for shape-up

Cite this Entry

“Shape-up.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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