Shape Up or Ship Out

If someone says this to you, it means it's time to make a change. Your behavior or performance isn't living up to expectations.

This command was first used in the U.S. military during World War II. When a soldier was told to "shape up or ship out," it meant that he needed to do a better job or he'd be shipped overseas to a combat zone. The expression started being used after the war with any kind of poor performance or bad attitude. It means get it together — or get out!

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: March 2010

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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