\ 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 But this year is shaping up to be another productive one for Martinez despite where the Sox are in the standings. Julian Mcwilliams,, "J.D. Martinez powers Red Sox past Angels," 9 Aug. 2019 But the coming election is shaping up as a test — not just of the man but of his country. Peter Baker, New York Times, "Four Years Ago Trump Was Seen as a Sideshow. Now He Is the Show.," 17 June 2019 This weekend is shaping up to be a nice one in the Tahoe Basin, with highs on Saturday in the upper 70s. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "September snow at Tahoe? Yeah, sort of," 11 Sep. 2019 The race for Illinois governor is shaping up to be brutal – and possibly the most expensive one in U.S. history. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Illinois governor race pits Bruce Rauner against JB Pritzker: What to know about the election," 21 Mar. 2018 This year is shaping up to be an extremely important year for the pro-life movement. Michael J. New, National Review, "Two Important Pro-Life Goals for 2018," 19 Jan. 2018 Expect that to shape up as the season comes closer. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "5 things to watch as Scott Satterfield opens Louisville football's fall camp," 5 Aug. 2019 This will soon be unexceptional So far, 2019 is shaping up to rival the worst melt year on record: 2012. Alejandra Borunda, National Geographic, "A heat wave is turning Greenland’s ice to slush. That's bad news.," 1 Aug. 2019 Despite a recent handful of shark attacks and sightings in the Atlantic Ocean, experts say 2019 is shaping up to be an average year in terms of encounters. Kalhan Rosenblatt, NBC News, "Shark attacks aren't on the rise. But here's how to stay safe this Fourth of July.," 4 July 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

Time Traveler for shape-up

The first known use of shape-up was circa 1920

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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).


to spread as a report or rumor

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