Some mother rats spend a lot of time licking, grooming, and nursing their pups. Others seem to ignore their pups. Highly nurtured rat pups tend to grow up to be calm adults, while rat pups who receive little nurturing tend to grow up to be anxious. The nurturing behavior of a mother rat during the first week of life shapes her pups' epigenomes. And the epigenetic pattern that mom establishes tends to stay put, even after the pups become adults. In our society, we think of anxious behavior as being a disadvantage.
To transform a faulty object or venture into something that works effectively. You don't need to watch many s B-feature westerns before you come across some hapless cowpoke getting a 'licking'. That use of 'lick', that is, 'thrash in a fight', is pretty much restricted to the USA, although it did actually originate in England in the s. Beating someone into shape sounds as though it might be the source of 'lick into shape' but it is in fact the common use of 'lick', that is, 'pass the tongue over', a meaning that dates from a few centuries earlier, that the phrase alludes to. The fact that we have a printed recorded of this expression is something of a close call as de Deguileville's text was one of the very first books printed, by William Caxton, around Caxton's print suggests that the translation was made in That belief seems rather naive to us now, but it isn't all that surprising in the context of the Middle Ages.
The meaning and origin of the expression: Lick into shape
Top definition. I can't right now, let me just hit a lick and ill get you your money. Lick unknown.
There are several things dogs do that endear them to some people, annoy other people, and sometimes illicit both responses from the same person. High on this list of traits is licking. Dog do lick to show affection, but there are other reasons why as well. The first thing a mother dog does after a puppy is born is lick it to clear away its nostrils so the puppy can breathe. The puppy is licked often by both his mother and his litter-mates, so he returns the favor.