shakedown

1 of 2

noun

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

2 of 2

verb

shook down; shaken down; shaking down; shakes down

intransitive verb

1
a
: to take up temporary quarters
b
: to occupy an improvised or makeshift bed
2
a
: 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
So, Biden’s supporters — or, rather, the GOP’s opponents — have adopted the shakedown tactics that mimic those deployed by pro-Trump forces. Noah Rothman, National Review, 22 Jan. 2024 In response, Combs’ team is characterizing the suit as the result of an unsuccessful shakedown attempt by a former girlfriend. Chris Willman, Variety, 16 Nov. 2023 Before the carrier’s 2022 shakedown cruise—where the vessel only managed to chalk up a 24-day stretch of uninterrupted steaming—the ship had only been underway for more than thirty days once, in late 2020. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 On Thursday, Combs’ team is characterized the suit as the result of an unsuccessful shakedown attempt by a former girlfriend. William Earl, Variety, 18 Nov. 2023 By many accounts, today’s outing — a shakedown cruise in local waters — should never have been possible. Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2023 This coincidence fuels another question – only this time, from a Hall of Famer who had his own draft-day drama in 1995 – in the pre-draft shakedown of Carter. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, 20 Apr. 2023 Alcon Entertainment, the company that produced The Blind Side, broke its silence Thursday after more than a week of the movie generating headlines as the subjects of the film traded accusations of ill-intentions and shakedowns. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Aug. 2023 Through their lawyers, the Tuohy family responded yesterday calling the move a shakedown. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 16 Aug. 2023
Verb
The feds finally nailed him in 1985 for shaking down a Maryland nursing home executive for $30,000 while the company was trying to do business in Sunrise. Steve Bousquet, Sun Sentinel, 6 Jan. 2024 Investors took fright at the prospect that their business partners might suddenly disappear or be shaken down. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Fortune, 21 Oct. 2023 The Justice Department on Wednesday charged 10 men suspected to be members of the Gambino crime family with allegedly shaking down business owners, assaulting members of the public, arson and embezzling from unions. Luke Barr, ABC News, 8 Nov. 2023 Then some Camorra thugs show up, shaking down fish sellers and shopkeepers for protection money. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 30 Aug. 2023 In response to the lawsuit last week, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy’s attorney, Martin D. Singer, accused Oher of repeatedly attempting to shake down the couple for $15 million. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 22 Aug. 2023 Advertisement After his cab driver dropped him off, Maurice was approached at gunpoint by a father and son, and shaken down for cash and valuables. Kenan Draughorne, Los Angeles Times, 18 June 2023 By comparison, this 400 Trophy was at first shaken down and reworked by a racing team over several seasons, then built up as a street car by a Tokyo tuning specialist during the time when the elusive Mid Night Racing Team was in their heyday. Brendan McAleer, Car and Driver, 25 July 2023 That resilience is nothing but a Potemkin façade, sustained not through genuine economic productivity but rather through shaking down the entire country for pennies to direct towards war.. Time, 30 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shakedown.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

circa 1730, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of shakedown was circa 1730

Dictionary Entries Near shakedown

shaked

shakedown

shake down

Cite this Entry

“Shakedown.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shakedown. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

shakedown

noun
shake·​down ˈshāk-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce shakedown (audio)
: a testing under operating conditions of something new (as a ship) for possible faults or for the operators to become more familiar with it
a shakedown cruise
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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