lick something into shape

lick (someone or something) into shape

To return someone or something into acceptable condition or behavior, especially through direct, efficient, and practical means. The president won the election on his promise to lick the economy into shape by overhauling outdated or inefficient legislation. What he really needs is a mentor who will lick him into shape.
See also: lick, shape
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

get/knock/lick somebody/something into ˈshape

make somebody/something more acceptable or organized; improve somebody/something: Do you think you can lick this company into shape?
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

lick something into shape

and whip something into shape
tv. to put something into good condition, possibly with considerable effort. I’ve got about two days more to lick this place into shape so I can sell it. Whip this manuscript into shape, then we’ll talk about publishing it.
See also: lick, shape, something
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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