Definition of shake in English:

shake

Line breaks: shake
Pronunciation: /ʃeɪk
 
/

verb (past shook /ʃʊk/; past participle shaken /ˈʃeɪk(ə)n/)

  • 2 [with object] Move (an object) up and down or from side to side with rapid, forceful, jerky movements: she stood in the hall and shook her umbrella
    More example sentences
    • I sit up in my bunk and swing my legs over the side, shaking my foot violently.
    • She grabbed at her stomach as forced laughter shook her sides.
    • And then the car flipped over tossing them into the side of something and shaking them about violently.
    Synonyms
    jiggle, joggle, wave from side to side; agitate
    informal waggle
  • 2.1 [with object and adverbial] Remove (an object or substance) from something by movements of this kind: they shook the sand out of their shoes
    More example sentences
    • Jim led the way down the hallway and up the stairs to their front door, shaking water off his jacket as he removed it.
    • I pulled my head up from underwater and gasped air, shaking water out of my hair in a spray of droplets.
    • He shook water droplets from his chocolate brown hair and put a dark gray vest over his black and gray striped sweater.
  • 2.2Grasp (someone) and move them roughly to and fro, either in anger or to rouse them from sleep: [with object and complement]: he gently shook the driver awake and they set off
    More example sentences
    • After a few more moments of simply staring at the young man she smiled wide, grasping his shoulders and shaking him gently.
    • At 5 am, I was shaken awake from my sleep by the dissonant sound of drumbeats and jarring notes emerging from a defunct synthesizer.
    • She felt someone grasp her arms and begin shaking her roughly.
  • 2.3Brandish in anger or as a warning; make a threatening gesture with: men shook their fists and shouted
    More example sentences
    • I turned before I left and shook my fist threateningly at him, then slammed his door.
    • Governments that desire otherwise can only shake their fist in anger.
    • Glen shook his fist in mock anger, and was answered by another stuck-out-tongue.
    Synonyms
  • 2.4 informal Get rid of or put an end to: I couldn’t shake the feeling that everyone was laughing at me
    More example sentences
    • She tried in vain to break the restraints or shake off the helmet.
    • But I could never shake off the loneliness that comes from being different from the majority.
    • He could never shake off his image as a somewhat effete elitist from America's prosperous northeast.

noun

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  • 1An act of shaking: she gave her red curls a vehement shake
    More example sentences
    • Camera shake is one of the most common flaws in any video production and yet it can easily be reduced.
    • The walls seemed to stretch and reach forever, but the young man just dispelled the image with a shake of his head.
    • He gave a single shake of his head and knit his brow.
    Synonyms
  • 1.1An amount of something that is sprinkled by shaking a container: add a few shakes of sea salt and black pepper
    More example sentences
    • Season clam juice or chicken stock with smashed garlic, grated ginger, a shot of sake and a few shakes of soy sauce.
    • I mixed all these together with the conch, a tablespoon of fresh lime juice, a pinch of salt, and a few shakes of Tabasco.
    • Tip handfuls of pale, hard goosegogs into a stainless steel pan and sprinkle them generously with unrefined golden sugar and a few good shakes of water - just enough to stop the fruit sticking.
  • 2 (the shakes) • informal A fit of trembling or shivering: I wouldn’t go in there, it gives me the shakes
    More example sentences
    • Whatever he had planned for him today, he doubted that the shakes and a cold sweat would go over well.
    • The steroid in the cocktail had the side effect of the shakes along with keeping his lungs alive.
    • By some small miracle, his leg had gone undamaged, but he had since contracted a severe case of the shakes.
    Synonyms
    a fit of trembling, delirium tremens, tremors; the horrors
    informal the DTs, the jitters, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, the jim-jams, the jumps, the yips
    Australian rhyming slang Joe Blakes
  • 3 short for milkshake.
    More example sentences
    • The beverages at our first Beverly Hills restaurant were basic - shakes, malts, iced tea.
    • It's used in fruit shakes in Laos, coffee in Thailand and Vietnam and in America it's the corner stone for Florida's Key Lime Pie.
    • The menu also features salmon, beer can chicken, large shakes and specialty margaritas.
  • 5 Music A trill.
    More example sentences
    • But he also interprets the shaking in musical terms using tremolos and trills, which can themselves be described as shakes.
  • 6North American A kind of rough wooden shingle, used especially on rustic buildings: cedar shakes
    More example sentences
    • On the exterior, they replaced the fiberglass wall shingles with stained cedar shakes and put in oversized, divided-light windows.
    • The shingles are wooden shakes that, apart from the new sections, are greyed from the elements and the outside paintjob is a cream colour with green trim.
    • The neat frame building bore a skin of immaculate white clapboard, the tall, pyramidal steeple above the front door shingled with new cedar shakes.

Phrases

get (or give someone) a fair shake

North American informal Get (or give someone) just treatment or a fair chance: I do not believe he gave the industry a fair shake
More example sentences
  • People who think it's all twee warbling over burbly synths just aren't giving them a fair shake.
  • Do you feel like there are journalists who are biased against you and don't necessarily give you a fair shake?
  • And given the opportunity to see the evidence, they're going to come to their own conclusion and, I hope, give him a fair shake.

in two shakes (of a lamb's tail)

informal Very quickly: I’ll be back to you in two shakes
More example sentences
  • Having a broadband connection means that, as consumers, we can enjoy instant e-mail, watch live television on our PCs, or download music and large files in two shakes of a lamb's tail!
  • No, my dear, Nell and I will be happy to drop you off since we're already going that way, so just sit yourself down, have a Poptart and we'll all be ready to go in two shakes of a lamb's tail.
  • Well, I'll be back in two shakes of a lamb's tail with some antiseptic.
Synonyms
in a moment, in a second, in a flash, in a minute, shortly, any minute, any minute now, in a short time, (very) soon, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, in (less than) no time, in no time at all, before you know it, before long; North American momentarily
British informal in a tick, in two ticks, in a mo
North American informal in a snap

more —— than one can shake a stick at

informal Used to emphasize the largeness of an amount: a team with more experience than you can shake a stick at
More example sentences
  • By day two this team were cranking out more new ideas than you could shake a stick at.
  • It was a bad action film, bad comedy & contained more stereotypes than you could shake a stick at.
  • ‘I was very scared because I thought it was going to be chock full of people with more degrees than you could shake a stick at,’ she said.

no great shakes

informal Not very good or significant: it is no great shakes as a piece of cinema
More example sentences
  • As it turns out, we find a nice, pleasant, amusing little buddy-cop comedy - no great shakes, no real moments of brilliance, but consistent amusement throughout.
  • The steak et frites, despite being a star dish (there's even a neon ‘steak et frites’ sign outside), was no great shakes.
  • It's no great shakes, but it lets me know what to expect.
Synonyms
not very good, undistinguished, unmemorable, forgettable, unexceptional, uninspired, uninspiring, uninteresting, indifferent, unimpressive, lacklustre
informal nothing to write home about, nothing to get excited about, nothing special, not up to much
New Zealand informal half-pie

shake the dust off one's feet

Leave indignantly or disdainfully.
More example sentences
  • When you are discussing it, at what point do you ‘shake the dust off your feet’ and move on?
  • No, you just have to kind of, like our Lord said, kind of shake the dust off your feet and walk away.
  • If, after a period of time, there is no response, then they shake the dust off their feet and move on.

shake hands (with someone) (or shake someone by the hand or shake someone's hand)

Clasp someone’s right hand in one’s own at meeting or parting, in reconciliation or congratulation, or as a sign of agreement: we shook hands on the promise
More example sentences
  • He shook Matt 's hand and then clasped Sarah's hand for a moment.
  • Dom laughed and shook Ash 's hand in agreement to the bet.
  • Ken Ferrari looked towards me, shaking my hand in congratulations.

shake one's head

Turn one’s head from side to side in order to indicate refusal, denial, disapproval, or incredulity: she shook her head in disbelief
More example sentences
  • When she laid her hand on her grey suedes, she could see him shaking his head in disapproval.
  • Now, I have to go think of new ways to make my relatives shake their head in disapproval at me.
  • He offered me another sandwich, but I shook my head and indicated I was full.

shake (or quake) in one's shoes (or boots)

Tremble with apprehension.
More example sentences
  • I on the other hand, am totally afraid, practically shaking in my boots.
  • She seemed more perturbed and bemused than shaking in her boots.
  • Are ad makers shaking in their shoes when they think about the impact of globalisation and the assertive entry of agencies and influences from abroad?

shake a leg

[as imperative] informal Make a start; rouse oneself: come on, shake a leg
More example sentencesSynonyms
hurry up, get a move on, be quick, speed up
North American informal get a wiggle on
South African informal put foot
dated make haste

Phrasal verbs

shake down

Become established in a new place or situation; settle down: it was disruptive to the industry as it was shaking down after deregulation
More example sentences
  • Both this case and the Sterling case are shaking down as classic struggles between academic integrity and the power and influence of big business on university campuses.
  • As the dairy industry shakes down because of all this, there are winners and there are losers, and there are those who are hanging in there against all the odds because it's simply too hard or too heartbreaking to get out.
  • The Usher Hall, normally so Edwardian, upright and slightly stuffy, slips off its tiara and shakes down to something a bit more comfortable.

shake someone down

North American informal Extort money from someone.
More example sentences
  • They even came by his desk and shook him down for the money.
  • She didn't shake me down for lunch money or even touch me.
  • And the responsibility stops there, and the solution to every wrong created in the society is not to rush into a court and see if we cane shake somebody down for a bunch of money?

shake someone off

Manage to evade or outmanoeuvre someone who is following or pestering one: he thought he had shaken off his pursuer
More example sentences
  • He tried to shake her off but couldn't quite manage it.
  • But much to the Americans' surprise, the Eurofighter shook them off, outmanoeuvred them and moved into shooting positions on their tails.
  • If by some chance you attract un-cool people, you manage to shake them off with your rapier wit.
Synonyms
get away from, escape, elude, give someone the slip, leave behind, throw off, throw off the scent, dodge, lose, get rid of, rid oneself of; outdistance, outstrip
British informal get shot of

shake something off

Successfully deal with or recover from: Sheedy has shaken off a calf injury
More example sentences
  • He shook the memory off and looked at Jonas warily.
  • With that, Sam shook the memory off and turned her horse around.
  • Before today, every time Sophie visited this memory, she shook it off as coincidence.
Synonyms
recover from, get over, get better after; get rid of, free oneself from, lose
British informal get shot of, see the back of
North American informal shuck off

shake on

informal Confirm (an agreement) by shaking hands: they shook on the deal
More example sentences
  • The two shook on an agreement long ago where Durst pays Biddle a small base salary, plus extras for other tasks.
  • Abbas and Sharon shake on the latest peace agreement.
  • Blaise took his hand as they shook on the agreement.

shake something out

  • 1Get rid of or abandon an attitude or practice: we are going to shake out the old attitudes
  • 2 Sailing Unwind or untie a reef to increase the area of a sail.
    More example sentences
    • Indeed, given his own preferences, Holderman thought he might actually have reduced sail, or at least left the night's reefs in rather than shaking them out, if only to give himself a little more time to avoid any ice his lookouts spotted.

shake someone up

Rouse someone from lethargy, apathy, or complacency: he had to do something to shake the team up—we lacked spark
More example sentences
  • He told him the manager's criticism was for the good of the team, that his words were designed to shake him up, not put him down.
  • This really shook Mel up and caused him to ask himself if his life was going in the right direction.
  • I'm still happy and all, but something happened today that shook me up.
Synonyms
put some life into, enliven, put some spark into, liven up, stir up, rouse, get going

shake something up

  • 1Mix ingredients by shaking: use soap flakes shaken up in the water to make bubbles
  • 2Make radical changes to the organization or structure of an institution or system: he presented plans to shake up the legal profession
    More example sentences
    • There is no shortage of proposals and initiatives to shake the system up.
    • Does that mean that he has plans to shake things up on the Max Bell stage?
    • I didn't expect it, though I probably should've, but Logan was formulating some plans for how to shake things up with my social life as well.
    Synonyms
    reorganize, restructure, revolutionize, alter dramatically, make far-reaching changes in, transform, reform, overhaul, update; reshuffle

Derivatives

shakeable

(also shakable) adjective

Origin

Old English sc(e)acan (verb), of Germanic origin.

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