\ˈshā-kē \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shaky

shakily \ˈshā-kə-lē \ adverb
shakiness \ˈshā-kē-nəs \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

If that happens, the Supreme Court’s reputation as a neutral arbiter above the partisan fray, which is already shaky, would be kaput. The Economist, "A court with a solid conservative majority could reshape American life," 5 July 2018 Even if this particular deal doesn’t go through, recent events show that Ms. Merkel’s hold over her coalition — much less the European order — could be getting shakier. New York Times, "Germany’s Europe-Shaking Political Crisis Over Migrants, Explained," 3 July 2018 What is clear in retrospect is that by 2016, Americans’ faith in their spies was shaky at best. Massimo Calabresi, Time, "Former Intelligence Chiefs Explain How President Trump Sows Distrust to His Advantage," 31 May 2018 Their offense is shakier with the departure of their All-State offensive centerpieces Christian Paley and midfielder Dominic Giachello, but the team has players who can step up to take on the workload. Joe Burns,, "High School Lacrosse: Optimism At Conard Despite Graduation Losses," 1 Apr. 2018 More: • Family separations could resume if the House doesn’t overhaul immigration, the Trump administration is warning, and the prospects for today’s planned vote look shaky. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "Summer solstice is here and Trump’s halt to family separations brings confusion, big questions | Thursday Morning Brief, June 21," 22 June 2018 His presence could mean two, maybe three more wins for a team whose offense right now on paper looks extremely shaky. Ron Higgins,, "New LSU QB Joe Burrow gives the Tigers hope, nothing more and nothing less," 19 May 2018 Both claims had been looking shaky as UMNO resorted to ever more unfair tactics, and ever more strident appeals to the country’s Malay Muslim majority, to remain in power. The Economist, "Malaysia’s chance to clean up," 10 May 2018 As for Rudd, once tipped to be May’s successor, her position now looks shaky., "Brexit Bulletin: A Final Position?," 27 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of shaky

1703, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shaky

Dictionary Entries near shaky





shalach monos



Phrases Related to shaky

on shaky ground

Statistics for shaky

Last Updated

29 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shaky

The first known use of shaky was in 1703

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on shaky

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


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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