1

shake

verb \ ˈshāk \
Updated on: 21 Nov 2017

Definition of shake

shook play \ˈshu̇k\; shaken play \ˈshā-kən\; shaking
intransitive verb
1 : to move irregularly to and fro
2 : to vibrate especially as the result of a blow or shock
3 : to tremble as a result of physical or emotional disturbance
  • shook with fear
4 : to experience a state of instability : totter
5 : to briskly move something to and fro or up and down especially in order to mix
6 : to clasp hands
7 : 2trill
transitive verb
1 : to brandish, wave, or flourish often in a threatening manner
  • protesters shaking their fists
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
3 : to cause to quake, quiver, or tremble
4 a : 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
5 : to lessen the stability of : weaken
  • shake one's faith
6 : to bring to a specified condition by or as if by repeated quick jerky movements
  • shook himself loose from the man's grasp
7 : to dislodge or eject by quick jerky movements of the support or container
  • shook the dust from the cloth
8 : to clasp (hands) in greeting or farewell or as a sign of goodwill or agreement
9 : to stir the feelings of : upset, agitate
  • shook her up
10 : 2trill

shakable

or shakeable play \ˈshā-kə-bəl\ adjective
shake a leg
1 : dance
2 : to hurry up
shake a stick at
: 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.

Recent Examples of shake from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shake.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of shake

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

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

2

shake

noun

Definition of shake

1 : an act of shaking: such as
a : an act of shaking hands
b : an act of shaking oneself
2 a : a blow or shock that upsets the equilibrium or disturbs the balance of something
3 shakes plural
a : a condition of trembling or nervousness; specifically : delirium tremens
b : malaria 2a
4 : something produced by shaking: such as
a : a fissure separating annual rings of growth in timber
b (1) : milkshake
(2) : a beverage resembling a milkshake
  • a protein shake
5 : a wavering, quivering, or alternating motion caused by a blow or shock
6 : trill
7 : a very brief period of time
  • I'll be there in two shakes
8 shakes plural : one that is exceptional especially in importance, ability, or merit usually used in the phrase no great shakes
9 : a shingle split from a piece of log usually three or four feet (about one meter) long
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.

Recent Examples of shake from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shake.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of shake

1581



SHAKE Defined for English Language Learners

shake

verb

Definition of shake for English Language Learners

  • : 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)


shake

noun

Definition of shake for English Language Learners

  • : 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


SHAKE Defined for Kids

1

shake

verb \ ˈshāk \

Definition of shake for Students

shook \ˈshu̇k\; shaken \ˈshā-kən\; shaking
1 : to make or cause to make quick movements back and forth or up and down
  • The ground shook.
  • Squirrels shook the branches.
2 : to tremble or make tremble : quiver
  • She was so frightened her legs began to shake.
3 : to move from side to side
  • I shook my head.
4 : to grasp and move up and down
  • After reaching an agreement, they shook hands.
5 : to get away from
  • She ran faster, but couldn't shake the dog.
6 : to make less firm : weaken
  • After being beaten badly their confidence was shaken.
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.

2

shake

noun

Definition of shake for Students

: a quick back and forth or up and down movement


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

sticky or viscid

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!