verb (used with object)
- to hit or beat, especially as a punishment; thrash; whip.
- to overcome or defeat, as in a fight, game, or contest.
- to outdo or surpass.
verb (used without object)
- a blow.
- a brief, brisk burst of activity or energy.
- a quick pace or clip; speed.
- a small amount: I haven't done a lick of work all week.
Origin of lick
Related formslick·er, noun
British Dictionary definitions for lick into shape
- to defeat or vanquish
- to flog or thrash
- to be or do much better than
Derived Formslicker, noun
Word Origin for lick
Idioms and Phrases with lick into shape
lick into shape
Also, whip into shape. Bring into satisfactory condition or appearance, as in The garden looks neglected, but Dad will soon lick it into shape, or We need at least three more practices before the team is whipped into shape. The expression using lick, which some think alludes to how bears treat their cubs, dates from about 1600. The variant alludes to the forceful use of a whip to accomplish something.