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1. To develop, take form, or become structured. The project is shaping up nicely—we should be done by the end of the year. His plans for a career after college were beginning to shape up.
2. To reform or improve one's actions or behavior. You're on thin ice! If you don't shape up immediately, we're going to have to expel you. I know I haven't been the best father in the world, but I'm trying to shape up.
shape someone up
to get someone into good physical shape; to make someone behave or perform better. I've got to shape myself up to improve my health. The trainer was told that he'd have to shape up the boxer before the fight.
1. to improve; to reform. I want to get things shaped up around here. I guess I'd better shape up if I want to stay in school.
2. to assume a final form or structure. The game plan for the election was beginning to shape up. Her objectives began to shape up in her senior year.
1. Turn out, develop; see take shape.
2. Improve so as to meet a standard, as in The coach told the team that they'd better shape up or they'd be at the bottom of the league . This usage was first recorded in 1938.
3. shape up or ship out Behave yourself or be forced to leave, as in The new supervisor told Tom he'd have to shape up or ship out. This expression originated in the 1940s, during World War II, as a threat that if one didn't behave in an appropriate military manner one would be sent overseas to a combat zone. After the war it was transferred to other situations calling for improved performance.
1. To develop: This football game could shape up to be the most exciting game in years.
2. To improve one's behavior or actions so as to meet a standard: If you don't shape up, you're going to be in a lot of trouble.
1. in. to improve; to reform. I guess I’d better shape up if I want to stay in school.
2. in. to assume a final form or structure. The game plan for the election was beginning to shape up.