\ 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 National Signing Day isn’t over quite yet, but Texas is shaping up to finish with the best recruiting class in the Big 12 for the third-straight year. Alex Briseno, Dallas News, "Breaking down Texas’ 2020 recruiting class: Longhorns’ best signee, diamond in the rough, and overall grade," 5 Feb. 2020 Selling assets to cash-rich buyers isn’t shaping up to be quite the magic bullet for reviving growth investors had hoped. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Consumer Giants Are Struggling to Slim Down," 24 Jan. 2020 Rosalía is already shaping up to be one of the 2020 Grammys’ biggest success stories — before the official awards show even begins. Ariana Romero,, "Rosalía Officially Won Big At The 2020 Grammys," 26 Jan. 2020 The Grammys are already shaping up to be a great show. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Here's How to Watch the 2020 Grammys Online for Free," 25 Jan. 2020 With recent announcements about new film and television shows debuting this year, 2020 is already shaping up to be an exciting one in entertainment. Sydney Scott, Essence, "A Comprehensive Guide To Film & TV Shows We're Excited About In 2020," 9 Jan. 2020 HBO’s Watchmen is already shaping up to be one of the most mysterious, compelling and controversial shows of 2019. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Everything You Need to Know About the Watchmen Graphic Novel Before You Watch the Show," 18 Oct. 2019 The 2019/20 campaign is already shaping up to be another memorable one, with a number of thrilling games kicking off the new season., "Nike Launch Limited Edition Re-Make of Classic Geo Merlin Premier League Match Ball," 19 Aug. 2019 This year is already shaping up to be one of positive change for BAD, with events and retail collaborations in the works, a pop-up exhibition at the High Point furniture fair in North Carolina, and a planned print publication. Charles Curkin, ELLE Decor, "The Black Artists + Designers Guild is a Creative Force Shaking Up the Design World," 18 Mar. 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 23 Feb. 2020.

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