\ 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

amend, mend, reform, straighten (up or out)

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Examples of shape-up in a Sentence


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

The first week of July is shaping up to be a good one for Tesla. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Tesla Model 3 Can Survive a Crash—and Avoid One Too," 3 July 2019 What might have been a celebration is shaping up to be more of a wake. David Enrich, New York Times, "Deutsche Bank, in a Last-Ditch Effort to Stop Its Spiral, Could Lay Off 20,000," 28 June 2019 This summer is shaping up to be a memorable one, and the fun is definitely just getting started., "Transfer Rumours: Bielik to Leave Arsenal, Suarez to Celta, Manchester Battle for Elmkies & More," 28 June 2019 This year was shaping up to be particularly difficult for the U.S. manufacturer, which is reeling from two deadly crashes that grounded its all-important 737 Max jet., "Boeing lands a showstopper deal to sell 200 new 737 Max planes," 18 June 2019 This is shaping up to be quite a big summer for X-Men comics. Christian Holub,, "The secret connection between Wolverine and Captain America will be revealed in new Marvel comic," 14 June 2019 For a child steeped in disappointment, this is shaping up to be the best Father's Day weekend ever, a new kidney and a dad by his side. Steve Hartman, CBS News, "13-year-old battling kidney disease finds a new home with his teacher," 14 June 2019 And the season 8 cast of Dance Moms: Resurrection is shaping up to be no different. Mackenzie Dunn, Woman's Day, "Meet The Cast of 'Dance Moms' Season 8," 19 May 2019 Between her plaid skirt and floral, Liberty-print dress, Charlotte's style is shaping up to be just like Queen Elizabeth's was, back when the monarch was growing up. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Princess Charlotte's Floral Dress Is Shockingly Still Available to Shop," 1 May 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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Statistics for shape-up

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Time Traveler for shape-up

The first known use of shape-up was circa 1920

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More from Merriam-Webster on shape-up

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shape-up

Comments on shape-up

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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