shake 1 of 2


2 of 2


Synonym Chooser

How is the word shake different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of shake are agitate, convulse, and rock. While all these words 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

When could agitate be used to replace shake?

The words agitate and shake can be used in similar contexts, but agitate suggests a violent and prolonged tossing or stirring.

an ocean agitated by storms

When can convulse be used instead of shake?

The words convulse and shake are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, convulse suggests a violent pulling or wrenching as of a body in a paroxysm.

spectators were convulsed with laughter

When might rock be a better fit than shake?

In some situations, the words rock and shake are roughly equivalent. However, rock suggests a swinging or swaying motion resulting from violent impact or upheaval.

the whole city was rocked by the explosion

Thesaurus Entries Near shake

Cite this Entry

“Shake.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on shake

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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