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verb \ˈshāk\

Simple Definition of shake

  • : to move sometimes violently back and forth or up and down with short, quick movements

  • : to move or have parts of your body move in short, quick movements and in a way that you are not able to control

  • : to free yourself from (someone or something) : to get away from or get rid of (someone or something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of shake


play \ˈshu̇k\


play \ˈshā-kən\


  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to move irregularly to and fro

  3. 2 :  to vibrate especially as the result of a blow or shock

  4. 3 :  to tremble as a result of physical or emotional disturbance <shook with fear>

  5. 4 :  to experience a state of instability :  totter

  6. 5 :  to briskly move something to and fro or up and down especially in order to mix

  7. 6 :  to clasp hands

  8. 7 :  3trill

  9. transitive verb
  10. 1 :  to brandish, wave, or flourish often in a threatening manner <protesters shaking their fists>

  11. 2 :  to cause to move to and fro, up and down, or from side to side especially in a repetitive, rhythmic, or quick jerky manner <shook his head in disapproval>

  12. 3 :  to cause to quake, quiver, or tremble

  13. 4a :  to free oneself from <shake a habit> <shake off a cold>b :  to get away from :  get rid of <can you shake your friend? I want to talk to you alone — Elmer Davis>

  14. 5 :  to lessen the stability of :  weaken <shake one's faith>

  15. 6 :  to bring to a specified condition by or as if by repeated quick jerky movements <shook himself loose from the man's grasp>

  16. 7 :  to dislodge or eject by quick jerky movements of the support or container <shook the dust from the cloth>

  17. 8 :  to clasp (hands) in greeting or farewell or as a sign of goodwill or agreement

  18. 9 :  to stir the feelings of :  upset, agitate <shook her up>

  19. 10 :  3trill




play \ˈshā-kə-bəl\ adjective

shake a leg

  1. 1 :  dance

  2. 2 :  to hurry up

shake a stick at

  1. :  to form a conception of (as by counting or imagining) :  conceive —usually used in the phrase more than one can shake a stick at

Examples of shake in a sentence

  1. The ground shook during the earthquake.

  2. The house shook as the train rumbled by.

  3. The earthquake shook the ground.

  4. Shake the salad dressing well before using it.

  5. I was so nervous that I was shaking like a leaf.

  6. The fugitive couldn't shake the police.

  7. It's hard to shake the feeling that I'm forgetting something.

  8. The news did nothing to shake my belief that things will be okay.

  9. Nothing could shake his faith in God.

Origin and Etymology of shake

Middle English, from Old English sceacan; akin to Old Norse skaka to shake

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of shake

shake, agitate, rock, convulse mean to move up and down or to and fro with some violence. shake often carries a further implication of a particular purpose <shake well before using>. agitate suggests a violent and prolonged tossing or stirring <an ocean agitated by storms>. rock suggests a swinging or swaying motion resulting from violent impact or upheaval <the whole city was rocked by the explosion>. convulse suggests a violent pulling or wrenching as of a body in a paroxysm <spectators were convulsed with laughter>.




Simple Definition of shake

  • : a short, quick movement back and forth or up and down

  • the shakes : a condition in which parts of your body move in a way that you are not able to control

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of shake

  1. 1 :  an act of shaking: asa :  an act of shaking handsb :  an act of shaking oneself

  2. 2a :  a blow or shock that upsets the equilibrium or disturbs the balance of somethingb :  earthquake

  3. 3 plural a :  a condition of trembling or nervousness; specifically :  delirium tremensb :  malaria 2a

  4. 4 :  something produced by shaking: asa :  a fissure separating annual rings of growth in timberb (1) :  milk shake (2) :  a beverage resembling a milk shake but made without milk

  5. 5 :  a wavering, quivering, or alternating motion caused by a blow or shock

  6. 6 :  trill

  7. 7 :  a very brief period of time <I'll be there in two shakes>

  8. 8 plural :  one that is exceptional especially in importance, ability, or merit —usually used in the phrase no great shakes

  9. 9 :  a shingle split from a piece of log usually three or four feet (about one meter) long

  10. 10 :  3deal 3 <a fair shake>

Examples of shake in a sentence

  1. He responded to the question with a shake of his head.

  2. Give the dice a shake.

  3. He drank too much coffee and got a bad case of the shakes.


First Known Use of shake


SHAKE Defined for Kids



verb \ˈshāk\

Definition of shake for Students






  1. 1 :  to make or cause to make quick movements back and forth or up and down <The ground shook.> <Squirrels shook the branches.>

  2. 2 :  to tremble or make tremble :  quiver <She was so frightened her legs began to shake.>

  3. 3 :  to move from side to side <I shook my head.>

  4. 4 :  to grasp and move up and down <After reaching an agreement, they shook hands.>

  5. 5 :  to get away from <She ran faster, but couldn't shake the dog.>

  6. 6 :  to make less firm :  weaken <After being beaten badly their confidence was shaken.>

  7. 7 :  to cause to be, become, go, or move by or as if by using a quick back and forth motion <We can shake apples from the tree.>




Definition of shake for Students

  1. :  a quick back and forth or up and down movement

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