or shape·up

[ sheyp-uhp ]

  1. an act or instance of shaping up.

  2. a former method of hiring longshoremen in which the applicants appeared daily at the docks and a union hiring boss chose those who would be given work.

Origin of shape-up

First recorded in 1940–45; noun use of verb phrase shape up

Words Nearby shape-up Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use shape-up in a sentence

  • Also shape up the "false" extensions of these pieces which are to be fastened below the lower frame at the corners.

    Mission Furniture | H. H. Windsor
  • I heard Joe telling Pinky the other day that youd ought to shape up well for next year.

    The Turner Twins | Ralph Henry Barbour
  • His butter-ball body was elongating, and his huge feet and legs were beginning to shape up.

    Lad: A Dog | Albert Payson Terhune
  • If things shape up sobut the fact is, I can promise nothing, say nothingat present.

    The Bail Jumper | Robert J. C. Stead
  • But maybe—we'll see how things shape up—maybe I'll send you back home.

    Blow The Man Down | Holman Day

British Dictionary definitions for shape up

shape up

verb(intr, adverb)
  1. informal to proceed or develop satisfactorily

  2. informal to develop a definite or proper form

  1. US and Canadian (formerly) a method of hiring dockers for a day or shift by having a union hiring boss select them from a gathering of applicants

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with shape-up


Turn out, develop; see take shape.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.