shape up or ship out

Meaning(s)

1. either improve performance/behaviour or leave

Popularity

Medium

Professional

Medium

Social

Check Icon How to Memorize

your behaviour has not been good enough, you need to shape up or ship out!

Check Icon Analysis

The idiom 'shape up or ship out' is often used as an informal warning to someone or a threat. To 'shape up' means to improve in some way, and to 'ship out' means 'to leave', if you ask someone to 'shape up or ship out' you are saying that they must make an improvement or increase their performance or else they will be asked to leave. This is an informal phrase used more often in social contexts. It could sound inappropriate or harsh if used in a professional context.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Advance)

  1. This is the last time that I am going to warn you about turning up late to work - you either shape up or ship out!
  2. The manager told the team that they would have to shape up or ship out as she was no longer going to tolerate under performance.

Check Icon Social Examples (Advance)

  1. My parents have told me in no uncertain terms that I can't part so much anymore. They told me to shape up or ship out.
  2. Kirsty is not pulling her weight on the team, I think she needs to shape up or ship out. Lots of other people would love the opportunity.

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