Lick into shape


      • improve something or someone
        To transform or make something or someone better, often through discipline or training

      • organize or arrange
        To put something in order or prepare it for use

    Examples of Lick into shape

    • The chef spent hours licking the pastry dough into shape before baking it into perfectly fluffy croissants.

      To "lick into shape" means to mold or shape something by smoothing it with a flat, smooth instrument, often the tongue. In this example, the dough was shaped using the smooth, flat surface of the chef's tongue, as she pressed and smoothed the dough into the desired shape.

    • The sculptor spent weeks licking the clay into shape before firing the piece in the kiln.

      Again, "lick into shape" refers to shaping an object or substance by smoothing it with a flat instrument, such as a trowel or sculptor's tool. In this instance, the artist is using her tongue to mold and shape the clay, working it into the desired form.

    • The athlete spent months licking her muscles into shape for the upcoming competition.

      In this metaphorical use of the idiom, "lick" means to mold, tone, or develop, so that the muscles are perfectly shaped and conditioned for the competitor's event.

    • The architect spent years licking the blueprints into shape before breaking ground on the new skyscraper.

      Here, "lick" refers to editing or refining a design, in order to bring it into the desired shape and form. The architect is working with the blueprints, making adjustments and alterations, in order to create the perfect building design.

    • The editor licked the manuscript into shape before publishing it.

      This idiom means to improve or perfect something through careful editing or revision. In the example given, the editor meticulously reviewed and edited the manuscript until it was polished and ready to be published.

    • She spent hours in the gym licking her body into shape for the wedding.

      This idiom is used to describe the process of physically transforming oneself through exercise and diet. In the example given, the person has been working hard to attain a fit and toned body in preparation for her wedding.

    • The coach licked the team into shape for the championship game.

      This idiom can be used to refer to the process of training and preparing a team for a competition. In the example given, the coach led the team in rigorous practice and conditioning sessions, which resulted in improved performance and ultimately led to their victory in the championship game.

    • I've been licking my emails into shape before sending them out to clients.

      This idiom is used to describe the process of proofreading and revising emails for accuracy, clarity, and professionalism before sending them to clients. In the example given, the person is making sure that their emails are free from errors and are well-written and appropriate for their intended audience.


    The idiom "lick into shape" can be used to describe the act of improving or organizing something or someone. It can be used to indicate the process of transforming something for the better through discipline or training, or to put something in order and prepare it for use.

    Origin of "Lick into shape"

    The origin of the idiom "lick into shape" is believed to come from the idea of licking a stamp or envelope to make it stick. In the past, envelopes and stamps required moisture to seal them, and licking or wetting them was the common method. The phrase "lick into shape" may have evolved from the act of licking and shaping the envelope or stamp to prepare it for use, and this action became associated with preparing or improving something in general. Over time, the idiom expanded to encompass the idea of improving or organizing something through effort and discipline, leading to its current meaning.