Definition of shape up or ship out in US English:

shape up or ship out

phrase

North American
informal
  • Used as an ultimatum to someone to improve their performance or behavior or face being made to leave.

    • ‘The gist of what they told us was this: shape up or ship out.’
    • ‘‘Nah,’ interrupted another, ‘I heard that he's very strict and that he's going to make this school shape up or ship out.‘’
    • ‘Henry is taking the long-term view and it may actually be a warning to the four wingers in the party that they may have to shape up or ship out.’
    • ‘Like teenagers, we can stomp our foot and demand the run of the house, but unless we pay the bills we can be told to shape up or ship out.’
    • ‘‘Australia is our compassionate mother, and I say to every person living in Australia, from the person in the highest office down to the ordinary man on the street, love this country or leave it, shape up or ship out,’ he said.’
    • ‘However, I think that after five years of this you should take a stronger stance and tell him to shape up or ship out.’
    • ‘He said yesterday that if teachers do not pay more attention to their chosen career they should shape up or ship out.’
    • ‘A terse order has asked the overweight policemen to either shape up or ship out of the job.’
    • ‘A lot may be expected of Button, who needs to shape up or ship out, but the debutants should be gifted a bit more breathing space.’
    • ‘Pot-bellied police officers in the Philippines have been set their own challenge - shape up or ship out.’