Definition of shack in US English:



  • A roughly built hut or cabin.

    • ‘Scattered across the dirt are the Vulture Mine's remnants: rusted equipment, tumbledown shacks, bunkhouses, corked whiskey bottles, and cracked furniture.’
    • ‘From among a cluster of shacks and lean-to's and concrete outhouses, clinging to the central building like barnacles on an oyster, you could see the outlines of what had once been a magnificent palace.’
    • ‘By the late 1880s many Ojibwa lived in one-room log cabins, frame cabins, or tar paper shacks rather than in wigwams.’
    • ‘A few hundred yards up the beach ran a small line of shops and food shacks, and the tourists made for them.’
    • ‘And if they weren't houses then they were apartment buildings, or department stores, or supermarkets, or malls, or office buildings, or warehouses, or shacks, or kiosks, or maybe even tents.’
    • ‘In Cairo, Egypt, the rooftops of countless buildings are crowded with makeshift tents, shacks and mud shelters.’
    • ‘In tents, shacks, log cabins and frame dwellings, pioneers gathered together for protection.’
    • ‘I saw it all around - the shacks, hovels, families collecting cow dung in the fields or breaking rocks for a new road.’
    • ‘It stood out like the Taj Mahal in a trailer camp as it was surrounded by what can only be described as windowless hovels and wooden shacks.’
    • ‘Where the status of a shack or a hut is concerned our concept of ‘house’ may simply fail to provide for a definite decision.’
    • ‘It was more of a shack than a house, but still, a living accommodation.’
    • ‘They were replaced by shanties and shacks built of nothing more than clapboard or wattle and daub with dark and threatening alleyways between.’
    • ‘But neither they nor he wanted to stray too far from the collection of small-scale bungalows, shacks, and cabins that make up this mountain town's built context.’
    • ‘Running around the sides of the shack is a roughly constructed porch, which can be reached via two short stairways.’
    • ‘Beyond, above the corrugated iron roofs of the rum shacks, towered the great twin peaks of St. Lucia's two tropical Matterhorns, the pitons.’
    • ‘Even without seeing or experiencing the carnage first hand, its spirit floods the freeways and works its wounded presence into the pots and pans of the shacks and palaces nearby.’
    • ‘From numerous visits to the city and perhaps even periods of short-term residence or work, islanders know that many Tahitian families struggle to make a living and reside in squalid shacks.’
    • ‘The buildings soon turned from downtown shamble shacks to upscale skyscrapers, apartments, and business buildings.’
    • ‘As the shacks turned to makeshift apartment buildings, the drug of choice shifted from marijuana to cocaine, and the weapons that the teenage boys carried soon became automatic rifles.’
    • ‘Others were shacks, inns, or just rows of shops.’
    hut, shanty, cabin, log cabin, lean-to, shed
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[no object]shack up
  • Move in or live with someone as a lover.

    • ‘She began, ‘Well, it looks like Ellie's shacking with my big brother tonight.’’
    • ‘She'd gone to the wrong college, shacked up with the wrong man, and had denied herself the pleasure of having a child of her own.’
    • ‘Living with Alice is so much more harmonious, she added, that the two of them have discussed making it permanent rather than shacking up with any more men.’
    • ‘With formerly segregated genres shacking up like bunnies, and often producing smarter, more attractive offspring, electronic-emo-chamber-country just had to happen.’
    • ‘Mostly, Kwan figures, that's because he shacked up with women he didn't love; he was with them because it meant that he wouldn't have to be on the street.’
    • ‘She always ends up shacking up with horrible men (not that the odds are good one way or another), and I feel she'd, naturally, be much more fortunate learning the virtue of her own gender.’
    • ‘I shacked up with a girl from my Reserve after that.’
    • ‘Plus, he and Sam are definitely full-tilt shacked up again so I think that he's staying at her place.’
    • ‘Some 53% of Scots are so louche about love that they simply aren't bothering to tie the knot because shacking up together is cheaper.’
    • ‘The cold-blooded little tramp shacked up with that guy there!’
    • ‘The only way to live is to shack up with losers whose natural life expectancy isn't much more than a mayfly on a good day.’
    • ‘The companion bill changes over 100 Acts to eliminate all differences for legal purposes between marriage, civil union, and shacking up for a couple of nights with no particular plan to end the relationship.’
    • ‘It sounds a lot more like shacking up than marriage to me.’
    • ‘But on the other hand, some rights probably do require some sign of consent and commitment beyond simply shacking up.’
    • ‘And if Kevin's such a jerk, why are you still shacking with him?’
    • ‘But how do we explain this to our good friend Marina who apparently sees nothing wrong with shacking up in the living room of someone you have never met before?’
    • ‘I know that I hurt Katelyn by shacking up with Mira so soon after her and I broke up, and part of me wanted more than anything to hurt Katelyn, the other half wanted to run back to her, and never leave her again.’
    • ‘This guy's wife is living in an upstate trailer while her ex-husband is shacking up with his buddy's widow.’
    • ‘So there's about six families all shacked up together right now.’
    • ‘As I mentioned earlier, there's absolutely no chemistry between Everett and Stone, so there seems to be no reason for her to ditch her husband and start shacking up with a spy.’
    cohabit, live with, live together, share a house
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Late 19th century: perhaps from Mexican jacal, Nahuatl xacatli ‘wooden hut’. The early sense of the verb was ‘live in a shack’ (originally a US usage).