\ ˈshā-kē How to pronounce shaky (audio) \
shakier; shakiest

Definition of shaky

1 : characterized by shakes shaky timber
2a : lacking stability : precarious a shaky economy performed well after a shaky start
b : lacking in firmness (as of beliefs or principles)
c : lacking in authority or reliability : questionable shaky experimental procedures shaky data
3a : somewhat unsound in health
b : characterized by shaking
4 : likely to give way or break down

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Other Words from shaky

shakily \ ˈshā-​kə-​lē How to pronounce shaky (audio) \ adverb
shakiness \ ˈshā-​kē-​nəs How to pronounce shaky (audio) \ noun

Examples of shaky in a Sentence

She took a few shaky steps before she collapsed. Her commitment to the cause seems shaky. Their marriage is on shaky ground. The team has performed better lately after getting off to a shaky start.
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Recent Examples on the Web Hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton, said that under Lightfoot’s leadership Chicago deserves recognition for how well things have gone, with little said about the city’s shaky start to vaccination efforts. Katherine Rosenberg-douglas,, "Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago’s vaccination progress lauded during ‘Morning Joe’ appearance, despite setbacks," 22 Mar. 2021 Dominant Baylor showed up in the opener after a shaky start, hitting 11 3-pointers in a 79-55 win over Hartford. John Marshall, ajc, "No. 1 seed Baylor beats Wisconsin 76-63 to reach Sweet 16," 21 Mar. 2021 Shares in Shanghai and Hong Kong were down about as much as a China-U.S. summit in Alaska gets off to a shaky start. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "After a rough week, crude and tech stocks look to mount a comeback," 19 Mar. 2021 Woods isn't worried about Selvidge's shaky start on the mound. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, "Ace Brock Selvidge clutch at the plate in Hamilton's season-opening baseball win over Chaparral," 16 Mar. 2021 After a bit of a shaky start, Michelle and Matt start inching their way down the building. Kristen Baldwin,, "The Bachelor season finale recap (part 1): Doubt, doubt, let it all out," 16 Mar. 2021 After a shaky start, the label signed Detroit rapper Eminem. Tom Maxwell, Longreads, "Shelved: Dr. Dre’s Detox," 16 Mar. 2021 Things got off to a shaky start, with attempts at minimalism that bordered on austerity. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Jil Sander Gets a New Owner and a New Opportunity for Designers Luke and Lucie Meier," 5 Mar. 2021 Comerford and other legislative leaders have said the hearing will focus on a shaky start to the vaccine rollout. Globe Staff,, "Oversight panel asks Baker, Sudders to testify next week on COVID vaccine rollout," 18 Feb. 2021

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

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First Known Use of shaky

1703, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for shaky

Last Updated

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shaky.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for shaky



English Language Learners Definition of shaky

: not strong or steady in movement, sound, etc. : tending to shake because of weakness, strong emotion, etc.
: weak and likely to break down, collapse, or fail
: not impressive or effective


\ ˈshā-kē How to pronounce shaky (audio) \
shakier; shakiest

Kids Definition of shaky

1 : characterized by quivering : not firm a shaky hand a shaky voice
2 : likely to fail or be insufficient : unsound shaky arguments

Other Words from shaky

shakily \ -​kə-​lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on shaky

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shaky

Nglish: Translation of shaky for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shaky for Arabic Speakers

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