shake

verb
\ ˈshāk How to pronounce shake (audio) \
shook\ ˈshu̇k How to pronounce shook (audio) \; shaken\ ˈshā-​kən How to pronounce shaken (audio) \; shaking

Definition of shake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

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
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
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
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

shake

noun

Definition of shake (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of shaking: such as
a : an act of shaking hands
b : an act of shaking oneself
2a : 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
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 : deal entry 3 sense 3 a fair shake

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shake

Verb

shakable or shakeable \ ˈshā-​kə-​bəl How to pronounce shakeable (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for shake

Verb

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

Examples of shake in a Sentence

Verb

The ground shook during the earthquake. The house shook as the train rumbled by. The earthquake shook the ground. Shake the salad dressing well before using it. I was so nervous that I was shaking like a leaf. The fugitive couldn't shake the police. It's hard to shake the feeling that I'm forgetting something. The news did nothing to shake my belief that things will be okay. Nothing could shake his faith in God.

Noun

He responded to the question with a shake of his head. Give the dice a shake. He drank too much coffee and got a bad case of the shakes.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The bouncer outside just shook his head at my friends’ borrowed ID. Melissa Kravitz, Condé Nast Traveler, "Why Cubbyhole Is the One New York Bar I Always Return To," 17 June 2019 Because Andy knew from his own experience as a recovering addict what Dakota Hopson — his son with the wide smile, his son who played rap music so loud the house shook — was doing that night three years ago. Freep.com, "Livonia dad torments himself every day over his son's final hours," 16 June 2019 Chavez shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Peter Millard, Bloomberg.com, "A Timeline of Venezuela’s Economic Rise and Fall," 16 Feb. 2019 The Prince of Wales didn't appear shaken or stirred while touring the set of the 25th James Bond film at Pinewood Studios in England on Thursday with 007 himself, Daniel Craig. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, "Prince Charles bonds with 007 Daniel Craig on James Bond set," 20 June 2019 Merkel clasped her hands in front of her as the German anthem began to play and seemed unable to control her body from shaking. Washington Post, "Germany’s Merkel appears unsteady, shaking at ceremony," 19 June 2019 Dump them into a metal bowl, invert another metal bowl and place it on top, then vigorously shake. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "Humanity’s Eternal Quest for a Better Way of Peeling Garlic," 18 June 2019 Woods shook off his double bogey on the par-3 5th, banging home birdies on the par-5 6th and par-3 7th. The Si Staff, SI.com, "2019 U.S. Open Live Blog: Tracking Tiger, Koepka and Round One Leaders at Pebble," 13 June 2019 Breathless from running, a young man holding a white flannel over his face shakes his head in disbelief at the response of the police. The Economist, "“They chose to come and fight for the freedom of Hong Kong”," 12 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The protests were piling pressure on Mrs. Lam as a few pro-establishment politicians on Monday called for a shake-up of her senior advisers. New York Times, "Hong Kong Protesters Are Fueled by a Broader Demand: More Democracy," 8 July 2019 No reason was given for the shake-up, which came as government forces have made little progress in a two-month-old offensive against rebels in the northwestern Idlib province despite recapturing wide areas of the country in recent years. BostonGlobe.com, "Reports: Syrian president replaces security chiefs," 7 July 2019 No reason was given for the shake-up, which came as government forces have made little progress in a two-month-old offensive against rebels in the northwestern province of Idlib despite recapturing wide areas of the country in recent years. Washington Post, "World Digest: July 7, 2019," 7 July 2019 In another shake-up in Portier’s case, Wednesday, the judge, Navy Captain Jonathan Stephens, made his last appearance. San Diego Union-Tribune, "SEAL platoon commander charged in war crime cover-up heading to trial in September," 4 July 2019 Major Lazer saw a major shake-up this year, with Houston native Ape Drums stepping in beside Diplo and Walshy Fire after Jillionaire's exit. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 32 Best Dance Songs of 2019 (So Far): Staff Picks," 27 June 2019 Fortune MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Gillian Tans, No. 11 on Fortune’s MPW International list, has moved from CEO of Booking.com to chair in a management shake-up. Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, "Larry Nassar's Victims Talk About the Settlement Process: Broadsheet," 27 June 2019 Most college freshmen experience the shake-up of going from being the best player on their high school team to just another guy on an NCAA roster. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "'His skill set is crazy': Jaelyn Withers may be Louisville's most underrated freshman," 4 June 2019 The #MeToo movement has caused profound shake-ups at organizations across the U.S. in the last two years. Jennifer Solomon, The Conversation, "Women are rising in the conservation movement, but still face #MeToo challenges," 19 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of shake

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shake

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shake

Dictionary Entries near shake

shaitan

Shaiva

Shakalsha

shake

shake-bag

shake-bolt

shake-cabin

Statistics for shake

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shake

The first known use of shake was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shake

shake

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

English Language Learners Definition of shake (Entry 2 of 2)

: a short, quick movement back and forth or up and down
informal : a condition in which parts of your body move in a way that you are not able to control

shake

verb
\ ˈshāk How to pronounce shake (audio) \
shook\ ˈshu̇k \; shaken\ ˈshā-​kən \; shaking

Kids Definition of shake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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.

shake

noun

Kids Definition of shake (Entry 2 of 2)

: a quick back and forth or up and down movement

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on shake

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shake

Spanish Central: Translation of shake

Nglish: Translation of shake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shake for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about shake

Comments on shake

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

WORD OF THE DAY

appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
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!