[General] lick into shape

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vil

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Dear teachers,

Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

One can see he’s been very badly brought up. He wants licking into shape.

lick in the shape = touch up; put the finishing touches to; reform someone’s character

Thanks for your efforts.

Regards,

V
 

emsr2d2

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Dear teachers,

Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

One can see he’s been very badly brought up. He wants licking into shape.

lick in the shape = touch up; put the finishing touches to; reform someone’s character

Thanks for your efforts.

Regards,

V

In your example, I would say "reform someone's character" is more appropriate. It can also be used when talking about something like an exercise regime. If someone is sent to a sort of "boot camp" for some serious physical training, we can say that the participants are being licked into shape.
 
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Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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To lick can mean to beat, so I agree with Emsr2d2 that it's more boot camp than finishing school.
 
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