from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Marked by meticulous order and neatness; tidy. See Synonyms at neat1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. meticulously neat and tidy
  • adj. Organized, serviceable, trained and ready for action

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Arranged in a manner befitting a ship; hence, trim; tidy; orderly.
  • adv. In a shipshape or seamanlike manner.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In thorough order; well-arranged; hence, neat; trim.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of places; characterized by order and neatness; free from disorder


Short for obsolete shipshapen, arranged as a ship should be : ship + shapen, past participle of shape.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
ship +‎ shape; of nautical origin, based on the obligation of a sailor to keep his/her quarters arranged neatly and securely against the inevitable turbulence at sea. It also implies a neat and efficient packing to fit into the limited space typically allotted to service members aboard ship. (Wiktionary)


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  • "The ship's in shipshape shape"

    -from Some Like it Hot

    December 2, 2009