shake·​down | \ ˈshāk-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce shakedown (audio) \

Definition of shakedown

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an improvised bed (such as one made up on the floor)
2 : a boisterous dance
3 : an act or instance of shaking someone down especially : extortion
4 : a thorough search
5 : a process or period of adjustment
6 : a testing under operating conditions of something new (such as a ship) for possible faults and defects and for familiarizing the operators with it

shake down

shook down; shaken down; shaking down; shakes down

Definition of shake down (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to take up temporary quarters
b : to occupy an improvised or makeshift bed
2a : to become accustomed especially to new surroundings or duties
b : to settle down

transitive verb

1 : to obtain money from in a deceitful, contemptible, or illegal manner racketeers shaking down store owners for protection
2 : to make a thorough search of
3 : to bring about a reduction of
4 : to give a shakedown test to shook down the vessel before its maiden voyage

Examples of shakedown in a Sentence

Noun He was the victim of a shakedown by a street gang. The guards conducted a shakedown of the prisoners' cells to look for weapons. They're putting the system through a shakedown. Verb the rumor is that he started his career shaking people down as an enforcer for the mob
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Yet, advocates maintain that proper ESG funds will ultimately win out over the long term, and that the shakedown in greenwashing will only make the market more robust. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 15 June 2022 As Trump settled into the Oval Office, the Trump International Hotel established itself as Washington’s premier shakedown venue, defying, among other things, the emoluments clause of the Constitution. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 16 May 2022 Next will be the shakedown of ticketholders, in the form of PSLs. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 30 Mar. 2022 Kent Schaffer, Charlo's attorney, told TMZ the arrest was a shakedown by a family member. Matt Young, Chron, 25 Feb. 2022 America's neighbors to the north just got an on-the-ice shakedown., 12 Feb. 2022 In 2018, after the case was successfully appealed following its dismissal, a rep for Swift likened the lawsuit to a shakedown. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 27 Dec. 2021 The parents, Singer, and college coaches played a direct role in the scandal, while negligent admissions officials and campus shakedown artists helped create the culture in which sleazoids like Singer and payola parents operated. Frederick Hess, Forbes, 12 Oct. 2021 Adamis was embroiled in a fight with an activist investor, whom the company claimed was attempting a shakedown by threatening a proxy fight unless the company hired him as a consultant. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The big takeaway, though, is that an intense fan campaign amplified by fake accounts helped shake down a major film studio. Justine Browning,, 19 July 2022 That means a fandom amplified by fake accounts helped shake down a major studio — at an ultimate cost to Warner Bros. of more than $100 million — to re-release a movie that had already bombed years earlier. Tatiana Siegel, Rolling Stone, 19 July 2022 Take, for example, when Feldheimer tries to shake down agent Osborne Cox (Malkovich), who instead delivers the former a swift punch to the face. Derek Scancarelli,, 7 July 2022 Also charged was Burke’s longtime aide, Peter Andrews, who was accused of assisting the alderman in attempting to shake down two business owners seeking to renovate a Burger King restaurant in the 14th Ward. Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune, 12 July 2022 The nurses and EMTs who shake down hospitals are really shaking down all of us. Ryan Ellis, National Review, 6 Mar. 2022 This, too, was a lawless place, run by local crime bosses who tried to shake down the American ambassador and everyone else. Washington Post, 11 Mar. 2022 Marrocco, a longtime political powerhouse and the key figure in the investigation, is accused of using Bucci and others to shake down builders and contractors for donations to his fundraisers. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 7 Mar. 2022 Doherty is also accused in a 10-page indictment with conspiring with Tobolski to shake down a real estate developer doing business in McCook. Jason Meisner,, 17 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of shakedown


circa 1730, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1859, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

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The first known use of shakedown was circa 1730

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Dictionary Entries Near shakedown

shake down


shake flask

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Last Updated

8 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shakedown.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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