"Shape up or ship out"

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Mon Aug 10 16:35:39 UTC 2009

Quoting Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>:

> Earlier still:
> 1951 _Binghamton (N.Y.) Press_  (Nov 24) 6: President Truman from time to
> time adds another name to the long list of those in his administration
> scorched by scandal. He possibly has told others to shape up or ship out.
> 1953 _Syracuse Post Standard_ (April 7) 6 (ad): Top kicks are neither
> swearing off - nor off swearing. Read "SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT!" ...in
> Collier's, on sale now.
> I don't have access to Collier's, but it was such a popular mag that the
> article probably had a lot to do with the spread of the phrase.

by Private Bill Safire

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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