Lick Into Shape

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If you need to lick something into shape then it needs some serious work in order to get something right.

We all know what it means to lick something into shape, but if you think about it, well it sounds like quite a funny phrase, so what does it mean and what's the origin you might wonder?

Well, until very recently (in fact many still believed in this up to about 150 years ago) it was thought that many creatures literally just appeared spontaneously out of other matter, and that animals had rather impressive creative powers. One of these was that bears licked cubs into shape - that is they were shapeless when born, and hence the adult would 'lick into shape' the young cub. Bizarre, my friend, but true.

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