Would you tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentences?
One can see’s been very badly brought up. He wants licking into shape. (Maugham’s “Of Human Bandage”)
Mr. Tuner reckoned that it look him a term to lick boys into shape after they had been in the Upper Third! (Maugham’s “Of Human Bandage”)
… you’d better get your story licked into shape. (Gardner’s “The Case of the Velvet Claws”)
lick into shape = to transform a failing object or venture into something that works effectively; put the finishing touches to
The sergeant licked the new volunteer army into shape in three months.
lick into shape = to make perfect; drill; train
Thank you for your efforts.
You are right.
(Note: 'Of Human Bondage')