Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun shake·down \ˈshāk-ˌdau̇n\

Simple Definition of shakedown

  • : the act of taking something (such as money) from someone by using threats or deception

  • : a thorough search of something

  • : a thorough test of a new ship, airplane, etc., in order to make sure there are no problems or defects

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of shakedown

  1. 1 :  an improvised bed (as one made up on the floor)

  2. 2 :  a boisterous dance

  3. 3 :  an act or instance of shaking someone down; especially :  extortion

  4. 4 :  a thorough search

  5. 5 :  a process or period of adjustment

  6. 6 :  a testing under operating conditions of something new (as a ship) for possible faults and defects and for familiarizing the operators with it

Examples of shakedown in a sentence

  1. He was the victim of a shakedown by a street gang.

  2. The guards conducted a shakedown of the prisoners' cells to look for weapons.

  3. They're putting the system through a shakedown.

Circa 1730

First Known Use of shakedown

circa 1730

Other Dance Terms

Rhymes with shakedown

back down, Baytown, bear down, blowdown, boil down, boomtown, breakdown, break down, Bridgetown, bringdown, bring down, call down, Cape Town, cast down, Charlestown, clampdown, clamp down, climb down, closedown, comedown, come down, cooldown, countdown, count down, count noun, cow town, crackdown, crack down, crosstown, cry down, cut down, downtown, drawdown, draw down, dress down, drop-down, dumb down, embrown, facedown, fall down, first down, Freetown, Georgetown, George Town, get down, ghost town, godown, go down, half crown, hand down, hands-down, hoedown, hold down, hometown, hull down, Jamestown, keep down, knockdown, knock down, lay down, letdown, let down, lie down, live down, lockdown, look down, lowdown, markdown, mark down, mass noun, meltdown, melt down, midtown, new town, nightgown, North Down, nut-brown, pastedown, pat down, pay down, phase down, pipe down, play down, plunk down, pronoun, pull-down, pull down, pushdown, put-down, renown, rubdown, rundown, scale-down, set down, shake down, shire town, shoot down, showdown, shutdown, shut down, sit-down, slap down, slowdown, Southdown, splashdown, splash down, stand-down, stare down, step-down, stop down, strike down, stripped-down, sundown, swansdown, take down, talk down, tank town, tea gown, tear down, throw down, thumbs-down, tie-down, top-down, touchdown, touch down, trade down, turndown, turn down, uncrown, uptown, Von Braun, wash down, wear down, weigh down, wet down, wind down, write-down, write down, Youngstown

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up shakedown? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take off or remove

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which is a synonym of indolent?

frenetic philistine lazy melancholy
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.