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To give someone or something robust support in the face of difficulty or to prevent potential failure. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shore" and "up." Workers are trying to shore up the levee to prevent a failure. His kindness and generosity shored me up while I dealt with the aftermath of my divorce. The government's actions are meant to shore up the financial companies it deems to be "too big to fail."
shore someone up
Fig. to (figuratively) prop up or support someone. Mary's solid character and personality helped shore her up during her recent problems with the law. Everyone co-operated to shore up John when his mother died.
shore something up
to prop up or support something. The fence fell over, so we shored it up with more posts. The storm weakened the foundation of our house, and we had to have workers shore up the house.
Support, prop, as in The new law was designed to shore up banks in danger of failure. This expression derives from the noun shore, meaning "prop," a beam or timber propped against a structure to provide support. The verb shore dates from 1340 and was first recorded in a figurative context in 1581.
To support something with or as if with a prop: The carpenters shored up the sagging floors. The peace initiative was failing, so the leaders met to shore it up.