shake

verb
\ ˈshāk How to pronounce shake (audio) \
shook\ ˈshu̇k How to pronounce shake (audio) \; shaken\ ˈshā-​kən How to pronounce shake (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 2 sense 3 a fair shake

Other Words from shake

Verb

shakable or shakeable \ ˈshā-​kə-​bəl How to pronounce shake (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The only thing left to shake it up would be a Michigan win, or Harbaugh’s eventual departure. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, 24 Nov. 2021 The breakup in episode one wasn't actually the thing that truly is going to shake them up. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, 24 Nov. 2021 Rather than actually jigging the lures, many anglers simply vibrate the rod tip, causing the lure to shake in place without a lot of vertical motion. Frank Sargeant, al, 10 Oct. 2021 Many have come to shake their head in astonishment or roll their eyes in disbelief at the latest feat pulled off by Servite receiver/defensive back Tetairoa McMillan. Eric Sondheimer Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2021 Campbell, a second-round pick by the Colts in 2019, has been unable to shake the injury bug in his three seasons in Indianapolis. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, 19 Sep. 2021 The Timbers’ win Sunday at the stadium formerly called CenturyLink Field may be enough to shake away the memories of their historic 6-2 loss to the Sounders in Portland earlier this month. Caitlin Murray, oregonlive, 29 Aug. 2021 Surely, at least a few of Rudin’s stable of preferred actors — used to above-market fees for career-making roles — can’t shake the worry that the same chances won’t present themselves. Benjamin Wallace, Vulture, 4 Aug. 2021 Going into this season, barring injuries, Jackson is going to break a couple of runs that cause everyone to shake their heads in amazement. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, 23 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Taking on the editorship of Dazed has also positioned him at the fore of media—an industry amidst a generational shake-up with social media conversations brushing up against traditional media practices. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 22 Nov. 2021 The biggest recent shake-up to happen to FRB enthusiasts came as a surprise. Adam Mann, Scientific American, 22 Nov. 2021 Yet, the roster is filled with holes while the coaching staff faces a shake-up after the firings of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and offensive line coach John Hevesy. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, 15 Nov. 2021 According to the New York Times, the announcements made at the annual meeting will play a major part in an upcoming leadership shake-up at the Communist Party Congress that is set to be held next year. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2021 But the deals are light on details, raising questions about just how meaningful that shake-up might eventually be. Kate Sheridan, STAT, 5 Nov. 2021 The outcry led Google to create guidelines for the ethical use of artificial intelligence, which prohibit the use of its technology for weapons or surveillance, and hastened a shake-up of its cloud computing business. New York Times, 3 Nov. 2021 Newburyport was among a number of cities and towns across Massachusetts that saw a leadership shake-up on Tuesday night. BostonGlobe.com, 3 Nov. 2021 The government is doing everything in its power to revert a bad election, from cabinet shake-ups to further economic stimulus despite piling up further dangerous imbalances. Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes, 25 Oct. 2021

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.

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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

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best shaker bottles of 2021.

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Time Traveler for shake

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near shake

Shakalsha

shake

shake-bag

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Statistics for shake

Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shake. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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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
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on shake

Nglish: Translation of shake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shake for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about shake

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