Definition of shake in US English:



  • 1no object (of a structure or area of land) tremble or vibrate.

    ‘buildings shook in Sacramento and tremors were felt in Reno’
    • ‘The roof of the living room shook as the three girls ran across the hall and down the stairs.’
    • ‘Suddenly the room started shaking, then, with a violent jolt, it stopped.’
    • ‘Every building shook, from one end of the city to the other.’
    • ‘Once again, the main building shook perilously.’
    • ‘A huge crashing noise came from outside, and the building shook.’
    • ‘Morgan braced himself as the process began; the whole room shook as the generators began churning out an unearthly hum.’
    • ‘Houses shook violently and buildings collapsed from the quake and force of the explosion.’
    • ‘The room was shaking from the tremendous force the boy was showing.’
    • ‘The last half of the sentence was said with a rage so great that the room shook violently, nearly throwing everyone off their balance.’
    • ‘The buildings shook violently and the ground trembled with its passing, and even the Dark Lord looked surprised.’
    • ‘We ran to the end of the hall, the hotel shaking the whole time, and opened the door.’
    • ‘I slammed the door behind me hard, the room shaking slightly.’
    • ‘Before the operators could move, the command room shook violently, throwing many of them into the walls and to the floor.’
    • ‘His voice echoed in the apartment and Melanie felt as though the whole room shook.’
    • ‘The entire area shook from the attack, and I was sure Logan was cursing at me.’
    • ‘The whole area shook as pieces of the ceiling began to rain down on them.’
    • ‘The floor was vibrating, shaking, trembling, the light swinging, papers flying.’
    • ‘The band room shook, causing many of the teen-aged girls in the flute section to shriek.’
    • ‘I stared around me in fright, as the walls of my rooms shook.’
    • ‘The area around that part of the Colony shook and vibrated.’
    vibrate, tremble, quiver, quake, shiver, shudder, judder, jiggle, wobble, rock, sway, swing, roll, oscillate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Cause to tremble or vibrate.
      ‘a severe earthquake shook the area’
      • ‘The shock waves from the explosions shook the ground and the trees.’
      • ‘All was quiet until the bird's flight path was suddenly cut short by a gigantic explosion that shook the very earth.’
      • ‘The explosion shook the ground, sending both of the comrades to the ground.’
      • ‘Suddenly there was a big explosion that shook the floor as Grant set off the bombs, followed by a great crash as the gates.’
      • ‘When it moved, it shook his vital organs as if he was standing on an earthquake simulator in a geology museum, and when it spoke, his nerves jumped and jangled in his body.’
      • ‘The kid shook his drink loosely, watching as the alcohol glisten in the ice cubes.’
      • ‘Ozone stink fills the hall and pounding hammers shake the wall.’
      • ‘It made her chillingly uneasy, like an earthquake shaking the house.’
      • ‘The explosion shook the ground with a devastatingly loud noise, loud enough to wake up the dead.’
      • ‘As the group advanced forward the first explosion shook the monastery.’
      • ‘The explosion shook the fortress and hurled her to the floor.’
      • ‘A planet-wide earthquake shook it as though someone were trying to throttle it.’
      • ‘Somewhere far behind came a loud explosion that shook the ground.’
      • ‘From the courtyard, the explosion of a grenade shook the house.’
      • ‘He smiled, as another explosion shook the house.’
      • ‘Just as he did so a loud explosion shook them almost off their feet and smoke poured out between the cracks in the elevator doors.’
      • ‘Her hand shook the glass and water spilled onto the tablecloth.’
      • ‘The 9.0 earthquake that shook the earth under the Indian Ocean was an anomaly.’
      • ‘The King shook his glass a little, the wine spraying about, until finally he gave in.’
      • ‘On the bridge, the explosion nearly shook everyone to the deck.’
    2. 1.2 (of a person, a part of the body, or the voice) tremble uncontrollably from a strong emotion such as fear or anger.
      ‘Luke was shaking with rage’
      ‘her voice shook with passion’
      • ‘It yelped again and backed away, its body shaking with fear.’
      • ‘Her whole body shook with emotion as she strode blindly along some path.’
      • ‘My voice was shaking with anger, and my body went stiff as if I might snap at any given moment.’
      • ‘His face was deeply red, verging on purple, and his voice was shaking with the effort not to shout.’
      • ‘Her whole body was shaking with fright for her daughter.’
      • ‘Bonnie insisted, her voice shaking with laughter.’
      • ‘His body shook with a memory he had tried to forget, but the woman lying helpless on his couch was bringing it all back to him.’
      • ‘Her body shook with fury and tears flowed uncontrollably down her cheeks.’
      • ‘Her whole body shook with fright and she had never been more scared in her life.’
      • ‘Tears spilt from gray eyes as Suki's body shook with uncontrolled emotion.’
      • ‘Her thin fingers wrapped around his elbows were shaking with the strong emotions.’
      • ‘I awoke with a start, tears coursing down my cheeks, my body shaking with sobs.’
      • ‘Ivor yelled, voice shaking with anger and tears as he slammed down the receiver.’
      • ‘I repeat, my voice shaking with the effort of holding back my rage.’
      • ‘His voice was shaking with fury as he looked down at Larek, who was sitting in the mud trying to wipe the blood off his face.’
      • ‘She whispered again, her voice shaking with emotion as she realized who had brutally murdered her mother.’
      • ‘Elizabeth cried, her voice shaking with rage, ‘You're not fit to wipe his boots!’’
      • ‘My body started shaking with the memory and chills ran through my spine.’
      • ‘He could hear her voice shaking and her entire body was trembling before him.’
      • ‘Chance watched her for a few moments, her body shaking with emotion.’
      tremble, quiver, quake, shiver, shudder, shake like a leaf
      View synonyms
  • 2with object Move (an object) up and down or from side to side with rapid, forceful, jerky movements.

    ‘she stood in the hall and shook her umbrella’
    • ‘I moved my shoulders and shook my hips in a little dance as the run-in music started.’
    • ‘She shook the umbrella carefully, ensuring that no contamination made its way to the Princess, and stored it gently away.’
    • ‘He scowled at the now-empty bottle, shook it, and muttered something.’
    • ‘He stood straight faced at the front of the stage, not moving and barely shaking the tambourine he held throughout the night.’
    • ‘I sit up in my bunk and swing my legs over the side, shaking my foot violently.’
    • ‘He picked her up playfully, shaking her side from side before setting her down.’
    • ‘Equal numbers of young women and men, often as couples, come out to see these ladies shake their stuff, and the atmosphere is one of racy hilarity.’
    • ‘Sprinkle a very little water on top and shake the mixture lightly so that coarse lumps appear.’
    • ‘Trey had slid into the house behind his uncle, shaking an umbrella dry, a brilliant grin on his face.’
    • ‘Combine and shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a Highball or Collins glass with a sugared rim and filled with ice.’
    • ‘It's my sister's old one, and I've come to learn that if you move it or even shake it, the screen will flick off.’
    • ‘She had the same reaction I did, dropping to her knees and shaking her side to side.’
    • ‘She grabbed at her stomach as forced laughter shook her sides.’
    • ‘And then the car flipped over tossing them into the side of something and shaking them about violently.’
    • ‘He shook his umbrella and took off his jumper, handing it to me.’
    • ‘Today, shaking a chocolate milk product is likely to be unnecessary.’
    • ‘Debra lifted out the black bottle, shook it, held it up to the light.’
    • ‘The year since the war has been one in which the pieces on the international chess board were violently shaken.’
    • ‘He shook the bottle as he turned it to read the side and frowned.’
    • ‘I didn't know what that meant, but I knew little Goldie ‘died’ because I always shook his water bowl.’
    jiggle, joggle, wave from side to side
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    1. 2.1 Remove (an object or substance) from something by movements of this kind.
      ‘they shook the sand out of their shoes’
      • ‘The young man spurted as he shook the water from his head.’
      • ‘Bucky walked next to his master, then shook the water and snow out of his hair.’
      • ‘I shook confectioner's sugar on top and brought the plates into the living room.’
      • ‘Jim led the way down the hallway and up the stairs to their front door, shaking water off his jacket as he removed it.’
      • ‘Rebecca shook the water from her eyes and glared at him.’
      • ‘She started to cry for the first time in ages, quietly at first and then in huge racking sobs that shook dust from the ceiling.’
      • ‘I bit my lip as I noticed that his hair was wet but not dripping, as if he'd just shaken the water droplets out.’
      • ‘As the two of them walked into the shed and out of the biting wind, she shook sand from her thin hair and switched the lights on.’
      • ‘She shook the cloth from her forehead and turned her attention to the flame again, using it as a focal point, instead of the darkness all around.’
      • ‘He picked it up, shook the sand from it, and donned it.’
      • ‘He shook water droplets from his chocolate brown hair and put a dark gray vest over his black and gray striped sweater.’
      • ‘There was a schlooping sound as he shook the coating of thick black oil from his fingers.’
      • ‘She rolled her eyes and sat up, shaking the dirt and twigs from her soft fur.’
      • ‘A gentle breeze wafted through the air, rustling the dogwood trees and shaking sprays of rainwater from their branches.’
      • ‘She arose, striking her tattered dress to shake the dust and dirt from it.’
      • ‘I pulled my head up from underwater and gasped air, shaking water out of my hair in a spray of droplets.’
      • ‘Although I was tired as well and the racket did not cease to grow heavier, I shook the sweat away and concentrated.’
      • ‘Ben shook the snow from his hat and coat and hung them up.’
      • ‘Emerging again, she shook the moisture from her eyes.’
      • ‘Then, like a dog shaking water out of its ears, I snap out of it and run to the desk trying to block Jeff's line of vision with my body.’
    2. 2.2 Grasp (someone) and move them roughly to and fro, either in anger or to rouse them from sleep.
      with object and complement ‘he gently shook the driver awake and they set off’
      • ‘What I testified to was once I did see him shake her and throw her.’
      • ‘Vince pulled the covers down from my shoulders and shook me.’
      • ‘When I came to it was to find myself on the floor with my orderly shaking me.’
      • ‘At 5 am, I was shaken awake from my sleep by the dissonant sound of drumbeats and jarring notes emerging from a defunct synthesizer.’
      • ‘He stirred as she shook her and looked up at him with watery eyes.’
      • ‘He called out his name and shook him, but no response came.’
      • ‘She shook her, and then felt the child's wrist for her pulse.’
      • ‘Camille shook Jacqueline violently, begging her to let her play.’
      • ‘She felt someone grasp her arms and begin shaking her roughly.’
      • ‘After the woman shook me at the mall, I dropped my shopping bags.’
      • ‘They ran over to him and shook him, attempting to wake him.’
      • ‘The hand placed itself on my shoulder and slightly shook me.’
      • ‘No one shook him, but he did hear someone calling his name.’
      • ‘After a few more moments of simply staring at the young man she smiled wide, grasping his shoulders and shaking him gently.’
      • ‘So you want to shake people and just say, look, you've just - you've got this amazing gift.’
      • ‘She shook him a few times, then glanced back toward the woman.’
      • ‘She marched right over to his bed, whipped the blanket off him and shook him.’
      • ‘He was still asleep and I shook him gently awake and told him.’
      • ‘She shook Jason by the shoulders and he stirred a little, but did not wake up.’
      • ‘I thrashed about and shook him until his eyes wearily opened.’
    3. 2.3 Brandish in anger or as a warning; make a threatening gesture with.
      ‘men shook their fists and shouted’
      • ‘He raised an eyebrow and she shook a fist at him playfully, giggling at herself.’
      • ‘I turned before I left and shook my fist threateningly at him, then slammed his door.’
      • ‘He'd given up questioning his Maker long ago, stopped shaking his fist toward the sky in anger and disillusionment.’
      • ‘He raved, he cursed, he shook his fists in my face, and then suddenly a horrible spasm passed over his features, he clapped his hand to his side, and with a loud cry he fell in a heap at my feet.’
      • ‘Just to be ornery, Mike tooted again and the old man shook a fist.’
      • ‘He raised a dripping fist and shook it at the departing boat with a wordless screech, only to splutter again as he went under once more.’
      • ‘I moved backwards slightly, almost from reflex, and he shook his bottle at me again.’
      • ‘Governments that desire otherwise can only shake their fist in anger.’
      • ‘One of the merchants shook a fist at her and yelled something and she waved back at him grinning.’
      • ‘Beyond shaking one's fist at the sky in impotent rage, not much can be done for that stuff.’
      • ‘I shook my cereal packet at her in mock-anger, which turned out to be a stupid idea since it was still quite full.’
      • ‘At a lack of anything else to do, she shook a half-hearted fist at him threateningly, and the corner of his lips tipped up in a hint of a smile.’
      • ‘To think, I used to live like an animal, subsisting purely on furiously shaking my fists at televisions and throttling newspapers.’
      • ‘Mrs Johnstone shook her fist as the car sped away.’
      • ‘Glen shook his fist in mock anger, and was answered by another stuck-out-tongue.’
      • ‘The noisy decamping of the occupying soccer army is often played against the backdrop of a portrait of this columnist shaking his fist.’
      • ‘They shook their fist but yet did not do anything to stop me.’
      • ‘She shook her fists to the heavens at the injustice of it all.’
      • ‘He shook his fist at her, which, to his surprise, earned a real smile.’
      • ‘One of the men shook his fist and cursed at him, threatening to cut his throat if he did not leave.’
      brandish, wave, flourish, swing, wield
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    4. 2.4informal Get rid of or put an end to (something unwanted)
      ‘he was unable to shake off the memories of the trenches’
      • ‘She shook the feeling of nostalgia and flicked back to their current hit.’
      • ‘I couldn't shake the feeling of wondering what made this clown so angry.’
      • ‘But I could never shake off the loneliness that comes from being different from the majority.’
      • ‘I couldn't shake the disappointment that he belonged to Emily.’
      • ‘Poor, poor Matt; he just can't seem to shake his feelings for her.’
      • ‘He found that he couldn't shake the feelings of guilt and depression when it comes to her.’
      • ‘He's grown used to being cold and wet these past months, but he fears he will never shake the feeling of those waters closing over him.’
      • ‘I think at this point I'm never shaking my fear of eating with others, but I have actually improved.’
      • ‘Still, she just couldn't shake the feeling that her loyalty will soon be tested to its limits.’
      • ‘She was very capable of protecting herself but even though I continually told myself this I could not shake the feeling of fear for my best friend.’
      • ‘An interesting thought, but he couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't quite right.’
      • ‘But I couldn't shake the feeling that something was going to happen.’
      • ‘It felt nice to be lusted after, to be an object of affection, but she still could not shake her fear of being loved.’
      • ‘He could never shake off his image as a somewhat effete elitist from America's prosperous northeast.’
      • ‘I felt relief run through me, and then shook the feeling away, telling myself that I really didn't care.’
      • ‘Unable to shake his disappointment, he flings his book bag onto the other side and takes a seat behind the wheel, slamming the door shut after him.’
      • ‘She tried in vain to break the restraints or shake off the helmet.’
      • ‘He was excitedly imbued with overwhelming anticipation, but he couldn't shake the feeling that something would go wrong.’
      • ‘I shook my head in disbelief, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I had to do something about my actions, or rather my lack of action.’
      give up, break, get out of, abandon, end, escape from
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  • 3with object Upset the composure of; shock or astonish.

    ‘rumors of a further loss shook the market’
    ‘the fall shook him up quite badly’
    ‘she was visibly shaken and upset when she returned’
    • ‘And she was holding my hand underneath this desk because she was obviously shaken by that whole Los Angeles experience.’
    • ‘He was shaken and very angry, and even though he wasn't hurt, it was very scary for my son and his wife.’
    • ‘For the next two nights, Kimmel was visibly shaken and uncomfortable.’
    • ‘Everyone was running in or out, and the students who'd managed to sneak in or had avoided being kicked out were visibly shaken.’
    • ‘The town was shocked and shaken by a very horrible tragedy.’
    • ‘A publicist arrives to announce Drew is visibly shaken.’
    • ‘The student was quite shaken and claimed that if the situation escalated further, she would be on the next bus home.’
    • ‘I was shaken that night by the thought of how close Jamaica came to losing two of its most promising new artistic voices.’
    • ‘At the house, every light was burning and Julia was almost immediately at the door to meet them, visibly shaken by her husband's absence.’
    • ‘Fisher was visibly shaken; he turned and walked off toward Diego.’
    • ‘Seriously, this is one of the half dozen scenes in the series that shakes me to my core every single time I watch it.’
    • ‘In any event, the composer was badly shaken during this era, which probably hastened his death in 1950.’
    • ‘I was personally shaken by it and wasn't in the mood to write much of anything.’
    • ‘The birds, butterflies, and stylized ivy in beautiful pastel shook me to my core.’
    • ‘This showing of contempt had an obvious effect on Edwards, who was visibly shaken.’
    • ‘Many people are shaken by a sense of vulnerability, and nobody can tell how all this will finish.’
    • ‘The art market was shaken by reports of great numbers of fraudulent Dali prints.’
    • ‘So, he breaks down the film to include six shorter stories, each delivered with one hard punch that shakes you in your seat.’
    • ‘He was still shaken from being tossed across the room, so he did not land on his feet.’
    • ‘Sets of stills have emerged clearly indicating that even though he was badly shaken, George did make a systematic record of their experiences.’
    upset, distress, disturb, unsettle, perturb, disconcert, discompose, disquiet, unnerve, trouble, take aback, throw off balance, agitate, fluster
    weaken, undermine, damage, impair, harm, hurt, injure, have a bad effect on
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 Cause a change of mood or attitude by shocking or disturbing (someone)
      ‘he had to shake himself out of his lethargy’
      • ‘Pretty soon she jumped over to the other side, and I shook myself out of my stupor and climbed hurriedly.’
      • ‘So what may finally shake the UK stock market out of its rut?’
      • ‘The chime of the Hub Tower clock shook her from her practice.’
      • ‘He looked genuinely confused for a moment, and then visibly shook himself.’
      • ‘Jason grabbed her arm roughly, his grasp startling her and shaking her from her thoughts.’
      • ‘Someone stepping on his foot shook him to reality again, Sally's big eyes willed him to stay in focus, but he just couldn't.’


  • 1An act of shaking.

    ‘with a shake of its magnificent antlers the stag charged down the slope’
    ‘camera shake causes the image to become blurred’
    • ‘I dimly noticed that Jay refused both breakfast and dinner through silent shakes of his head while I ate them mechanically, never tasting them.’
    • ‘He gives himself a little shake and then turns to Amelia.’
    • ‘Camera shake is one of the most common flaws in any video production and yet it can easily be reduced.’
    • ‘The racing driver technique of giving champagne a good shake and prising off the cork with two thumbs is about as dangerous as motor racing.’
    • ‘Adam felt a gentle shake and jumped, surprised to see his father sitting next to him.’
    • ‘She could hardly hear him through the shake of the earpiece in her hands.’
    • ‘She gave herself a mental shake and turned back to the task at hand.’
    • ‘After looking at the mild shake throughout the movie, the suddenly stable image will stick right out to you.’
    • ‘I placed my hand in his, expecting a shake, but he surprised me by bringing my hand to his lips and placing a butterfly kiss on my knuckles.’
    • ‘The walls seemed to stretch and reach forever, but the young man just dispelled the image with a shake of his head.’
    • ‘She thought of it as a nervous motion, or a shake of the muscles when the mind is relaxing, and dismissed it.’
    • ‘Where another child would have been punished for the same stunts he pulled, his cheeky familiarity often earned him little more than soft chuckles and rueful shakes of the aged heads.’
    • ‘After draining them, he would put them back in the pan, add a handful of salt, and give them a shake.’
    • ‘He gave a single shake of his head and knit his brow.’
    • ‘The girl gave a polite shake of the head declining the tea, but took the proffered chair.’
    • ‘She added a bit of a shake to her voice to make it sound more realistic, and though Barbara eyed her skeptically, she accepted the story.’
    • ‘Christian cradled her small body, feeling her shakes and shivers.’
    • ‘Tanya gave the glass container a few good shakes.’
    • ‘The tall teenager gave my hair a shake and caught up with Danny quickly.’
    • ‘Quint offered coffee, but Caine declined with a shake of his head.’
    jiggle, joggle, jerk
    flourish, brandish, wave
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An amount of something that is sprinkled by shaking a container.
      ‘add a few shakes of sea salt and black pepper’
      • ‘Tip handfuls of pale, hard goosegogs into a stainless steel pan and sprinkle them generously with unrefined golden sugar and a few good shakes of water - just enough to stop the fruit sticking.’
      • ‘I mixed all these together with the conch, a tablespoon of fresh lime juice, a pinch of salt, and a few shakes of Tabasco.’
      • ‘Season clam juice or chicken stock with smashed garlic, grated ginger, a shot of sake and a few shakes of soy sauce.’
      • ‘Stir in a shake of sesame oil, the sugar, garlic and the chopped mint.’
  • 2the shakesinformal A fit of trembling or shivering.

    ‘I wouldn't go in there, it gives me the shakes’
    • ‘It's so close that we're starting to get the shakes.’
    • ‘Danny accepts it with a grateful nod and drinks a long draught, trying to banish the shakes from his body.’
    • ‘My body had sailed smoothly through the birth, but I was humbled when it reacted afterward with a high temperature and the shakes.’
    • ‘The steroid in the cocktail had the side effect of the shakes along with keeping his lungs alive.’
    • ‘With all this re-hashing of old ideas, it seemed like reality shows had run their course in '04, making reality junkies like me start to get the shakes.’
    • ‘She rested her head against the cold hard glass, then suddenly got the shakes about what could have been smeared on these windows, and by whom over the years, and she pulled herself up sharply.’
    • ‘The topic of depth of field tends to give the shakes to many beginning photographers, but the concept is actually very simple.’
    • ‘By some small miracle, his leg had gone undamaged, but he had since contracted a severe case of the shakes.’
    • ‘Get past the depression, the illness, the shakes and diarrhea.’
    • ‘Every time I went back to the hometown, my stomach turned into knots, I couldn't eat or sleep, and I got the shakes.’
    • ‘Whatever he had planned for him today, he doubted that the shakes and a cold sweat would go over well.’
    • ‘And the shakes and sweats tend to make you look a lot crazier than you really are.’
    • ‘There was this unclean desire toward celebrity and media that still rages within us like the shakes in an alcoholic.’
    • ‘So you're interested in turning your PC into a digital video recorder, but the notion of opening your computer to install a TV-tuner card gives you the shakes.’
    • ‘Edie gasped for breath, giving in to the shakes, hanging on to the float like it was her whole world.’
    a fit of trembling, delirium tremens, tremors
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  • 3

    short for milk shake
    • ‘I am driving up the M1 and, with just a double breakfast egg McMuffin and a vanilla shake inside me, I'm thinking about lunch.’
    • ‘Instead, she drank as much of her shake as she possibly could, and then went back to work on her main course.’
    • ‘And like so many others, she found that yo-yo dieting, popping diet pills, drinking fitness shakes, and cutting out food groups doesn't help to shed pounds.’
    • ‘The menu also features salmon, beer can chicken, large shakes and specialty margaritas.’
    • ‘And he preferred their shakes to their coffee.’
    • ‘At some point add a strawberry shake to take you to 247 percent of saturated fat and 166 percent of sodium.’
    • ‘It's used in fruit shakes in Laos, coffee in Thailand and Vietnam and in America it's the corner stone for Florida's Key Lime Pie.’
    • ‘But mandarins take center stage, with a mandarin-themed recipe contest, mandarin shakes, even mandarin trees for sale.’
    • ‘The beverages at our first Beverly Hills restaurant were basic - shakes, malts, iced tea.’
    • ‘The meals were high in protein and low in sugar, often including egg whites, oatmeal, chicken, veggies, and meal-replacement shakes.’
    • ‘If you choose to sell nutritional products (supplements, energy drinks, shakes, bars, etc.) you need to know what you're doing.’
    • ‘He gave his head a quick shake and drank the rest of his wine.’
    • ‘It sells burgers - single or double - fries, sodas, and shakes.’
    • ‘Staff will make shakes, cappuccinos and lattes with organic cow's milk or soy milk, or with almond milk for customers who are allergic to soy.’
    • ‘A chocolate shake was a surprise for not driving your mother crazy that particular day.’
    • ‘For instance, one of his male clients drank two soy shakes and ate a couple of bars daily.’
    • ‘In the morning, I was supposed to drink a barium shake to light up my insides for a scan.’
    • ‘I'll have chicken and pasta for dinner, plus a few protein shakes.’
    • ‘For the honeycomb shake: In a small saucepan, bring milk and cream to a boil.’
    • ‘As the years passed, she ate deep-fried chicken nuggets, fried fish sandwiches, double-fisted burgers with cheese and sauce and bacon, French fries and chocolate shakes.’
  • 4informal An earth tremor.

    earthquake, earth tremor, aftershock, convulsion
    View synonyms
  • 5Music
    A trill.

    • ‘But he also interprets the shaking in musical terms using tremolos and trills, which can themselves be described as shakes.’


  • get (or give someone) a fair shake

    • informal Get (or give someone) just treatment or a fair chance.

      ‘I do not believe he gave the industry a fair shake’
      • ‘People who think it's all twee warbling over burbly synths just aren't giving them a fair shake.’
      • ‘I just wanted you to know that some of us would rather give you a fair shake than rush to be the first to jump off the ship in the face of a rocky wave.’
      • ‘And given the opportunity to see the evidence, they're going to come to their own conclusion and, I hope, give him a fair shake.’
      • ‘I mean, a lot of money, time and effort go into these new shows, so I want to give them a fair shake before I start putting my journalistic weight behind them or pushing them off the air with a sharp barb.’
      • ‘They are not getting a fair shake, are they?’
      • ‘So, is the president getting a fair shake from the American media?’
      • ‘I only bring this up to make the point that I really did give them a fair shake - hell, I own four of their albums.’
      • ‘Do you feel like there are journalists who are biased against you and don't necessarily give you a fair shake?’
      • ‘It might prevent some paper from getting a fair shake, but it is fair (or at least equally unfair).’
      • ‘So, if we want the Yanks to keep coming over here, we should give them a fair shake - not a shakedown.’
  • in two shakes (of a lamb's tail)

    • informal Very quickly.

      ‘I'll be back to you in two shakes’
      • ‘Well, I'll be back in two shakes of a lamb's tail with some antiseptic.’
      • ‘She had sterilized a needle in two shakes of a lamb's tail, and began about the dirty work.’
      • ‘Thomas chuckled and informed the ladies, ‘He'll be here in two shakes,’ as he stepped past to help the kitchen staff with final preparations.’
      • ‘No, my dear, Nell and I will be happy to drop you off since we're already going that way, so just sit yourself down, have a Poptart and we'll all be ready to go in two shakes of a lamb's tail.’
      • ‘Having a broadband connection means that, as consumers, we can enjoy instant e-mail, watch live television on our PCs, or download music and large files in two shakes of a lamb's tail!’
      • ‘Compare with a semi-auto that can spit out a handful of rounds in two shakes of the proverbial lamb's tail.’
      • ‘When you wake up in the morning, you start looking at the problem again and in two shakes of a duck's tail, you've figured out the solution.’
      • ‘But if we don't wind up the engineer, he'll be here in two shakes…’
      • ‘‘You jist take a seat, young ‘un, an’ I'll be with you in two shakes.‘’
      in a moment, in a second, in a flash, in a minute, shortly, any minute, any minute now, in a short time, soon, very soon, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, in no time, in less than no time, in no time at all, before you know it, before long
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  • more — than one can shake a stick at

    • informal Used to emphasize the largeness of an amount.

      ‘a team with more experience than you can shake a stick at’
      • ‘It was a bad action film, bad comedy & contained more stereotypes than you could shake a stick at.’
      • ‘‘I was very scared because I thought it was going to be chock full of people with more degrees than you could shake a stick at,’ she said.’
      • ‘He's flip-flopped on more issues than you can shake a stick at!’
      • ‘The ‘greatest living designer in all the Americas’ has created a dizzying number of products, as well as more prototypes than you can shake a stick at.’
      • ‘A non-stop barrage of clichés, denim, magnum 45s and bad facial hair, this highly technical show contains a completely original music score, brilliant lighting, pyrotechnics and more gags than you can shake a stick at.’
      • ‘I get bored easily, and I change my clothes a lot, so I've had more careers than you can shake a stick at.’
      • ‘By day two this team were cranking out more new ideas than you could shake a stick at.’
      • ‘I think before you can be critical of the design of hospitals and sometimes the lack of, you have to remember the atmosphere that surrounds healthcare, lawsuits a plenty, more regulations than you can shake a stick at, and lack of funding.’
      • ‘When my parents arrived, we found ourselves introduced to more cousins than you can shake a stick at, most of them so many times removed you can barely detect them.’
      • ‘After an auspicious debut this time last year, the Pop Montreal festival returns with more shows than you can shake a stick at.’
  • no great shakes

    • informal Not very good or significant.

      ‘it is no great shakes as a piece of cinema’
      • ‘The steak et frites, despite being a star dish (there's even a neon ‘steak et frites’ sign outside), was no great shakes.’
      • ‘‘The film itself is no great shakes,’ said the San Jose Mercury News.’
      • ‘Technically it is sufficient, but no great shakes.’
      • ‘Truth be told, Billy is no great shakes as a boxer.’
      • ‘He was no great shakes in the House of Commons, and never pretended to be.’
      • ‘The beach itself is no great shakes, but it's easy to find a spot to yourself and the unrestricted view of the sea, punctuated by fishing boats anchored in the surf, is quite beautiful.’
      • ‘The six-year-old is no great shakes, but she will not need to be to win this modest ten furlongs event, and her three recent respectable efforts in defeat stand her in good stead.’
      • ‘It's no great shakes, but it lets me know what to expect.’
      • ‘As it turns out, we find a nice, pleasant, amusing little buddy-cop comedy - no great shakes, no real moments of brilliance, but consistent amusement throughout.’
      • ‘And even allowing that some of it may have been lost in the opening night fog, the movement in Mr. Lear is no great shakes.’
      not very good, undistinguished, unmemorable, forgettable, unexceptional, uninspired, uninspiring, uninteresting, indifferent, unimpressive, lacklustre
      View synonyms
  • shake the dust off one's feet

    • Leave indignantly or disdainfully.

      • ‘But as we approached the end of that period, with no obvious fruit, we were almost ready to ‘shake the dust off our feet’.’
      • ‘No, you just have to kind of, like our Lord said, kind of shake the dust off your feet and walk away.’
      • ‘If, after a period of time, there is no response, then they shake the dust off their feet and move on.’
      • ‘When you are discussing it, at what point do you ‘shake the dust off your feet’ and move on?’
  • shake hands (with someone)

    • Clasp someone's right hand in one's own at meeting or parting, in reconciliation or congratulation, or as a sign of agreement.

      • ‘People came up and shook my hand, congratulating me, and welcoming me.’
      • ‘Ken Ferrari looked towards me, shaking my hand in congratulations.’
      • ‘The first time I met Kevin, he shook my hand when I arrived and again when I left, and remembered me from the previous week when I couldn't have picked him out of a lineup.’
      • ‘I think he did a hell of a job; and I was the first one to congratulate him and shake his hand when he gave that argument.’
      • ‘He shook Matt 's hand and then clasped Sarah's hand for a moment.’
      • ‘Dom laughed and shook Ash 's hand in agreement to the bet.’
      • ‘I and many of the students were delighted to shake his hand and congratulate him.’
      • ‘I just waited my turn and shook his hand and congratulated him on the show.’
      • ‘But at a recent game, one of the newest players, Darius Miles, came over to shake the owner 's hand, a sign of respect and appreciation that seems to matter to Allen.’
      • ‘‘I shook his hand and congratulated him even though it was through gritted teeth,’ he laughed.’
  • shake one's head

    • Turn one's head from side to side in order to indicate refusal, denial, disapproval, or incredulity.

      ‘she shook her head in disbelief’
      • ‘I looked up and smiled, shaking my head, indicating for him not to worry, to just forget it.’
      • ‘When she laid her hand on her grey suedes, she could see him shaking his head in disapproval.’
      • ‘He shook his head and indicated that I should follow him into the living room.’
      • ‘Inside, she felt like shaking her head in disapproval but she knew not to in a time like this.’
      • ‘Looking straight at Josh, George shakes his head from side to side while holding an index finger up to his lips.’
      • ‘Then he sat heavily back on the bench and shook his head from side to side, making known his disgust.’
      • ‘He offered me another sandwich, but I shook my head and indicated I was full.’
      • ‘Staring at him, Rena shakes her head in disapproval and sets her fork down.’
      • ‘Ben stared up at the turquoise sky blankly, then, slowly, he shook his head from side to side.’
      • ‘Now, I have to go think of new ways to make my relatives shake their head in disapproval at me.’
  • shake (or quake) in one's shoes (or boots)

    • Tremble with apprehension.

      • ‘Now, the conspirators out there, yes, they are shaking in their boots, because they know we know.’
      • ‘She seemed more perturbed and bemused than shaking in her boots.’
      • ‘What happened to the suspense of last year, when juniors-to-be were shaking in their boots, not knowing where they would live the next year?’
      • ‘Sometime in the early 90s the Australian hot shop delivered a manifesto that was so radical it had the old guard of advertisers shaking in their boots.’
      • ‘They gave ultimatums, including the ever-present cloud of separatism, that had the Feds shaking in their boots.’
      • ‘It's the guys who don't give a sugar who should be shaking in their boots.’
      • ‘I on the other hand, am totally afraid, practically shaking in my boots.’
      • ‘They understood that if everybody is really shaking in their boots about this man's conflict of interest over six years, no one seemed to do anything about it.’
      • ‘Are ad makers shaking in their shoes when they think about the impact of globalisation and the assertive entry of agencies and influences from abroad?’
      • ‘From now on, directors and remuneration committees in boardrooms across Britain would be shaking in their boots.’
  • shake a leg

    • informal Make a start; rouse oneself.

      ‘come on, shake a leg’
      hurry up, get a move on, be quick, speed up
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • shake down

    • Become established in a new place or situation; settle down.

      ‘it was disruptive to the industry as it was shaking down after deregulation’
      • ‘He expects the industry to shake down to four or five major players.’
      • ‘The Usher Hall, normally so Edwardian, upright and slightly stuffy, slips off its tiara and shakes down to something a bit more comfortable.’
      • ‘The ‘facts’ will come fast and furious from now till then; you'll be told which issues are most important to you, how you'll vote, and how the whole thing will shake down a hundred different times and ways.’
      • ‘In some cultures, indeed, it is the norm for the original couple to shake down into something that is more companionship and shared interest than passion, and the men, at least, are allowed to establish a sex life elsewhere.’
      • ‘It will be instructive to see how the piece shapes up as it shakes down.’
      • ‘As the dairy industry shakes down because of all this, there are winners and there are losers, and there are those who are hanging in there against all the odds because it's simply too hard or too heartbreaking to get out.’
      • ‘Stay tuned because something has to shake down, and soon.’
      • ‘Both this case and the Sterling case are shaking down as classic struggles between academic integrity and the power and influence of big business on university campuses.’
      • ‘How that sentiment will shake down Monday, not even Cummins pretends to know.’
  • shake someone down

    • Extort money from someone.

      • ‘When I told them I didn't have any money coming in, they used to shake Colleen down after they'd seen me leave the apartment.’
      • ‘It's all about the government inserting itself, and shaking us down financially, in every conceivable area of our lives.’
      • ‘And the responsibility stops there, and the solution to every wrong created in the society is not to rush into a court and see if we cane shake somebody down for a bunch of money?’
      • ‘They even came by his desk and shook him down for the money.’
      • ‘She didn't shake me down for lunch money or even touch me.’
      • ‘How about taking on the textbook industry and their conspiracy to shake the American public down?’
      • ‘And our concerns that perhaps some of the princes were shaken down by blackmail to provide funds that have fueled a very large-scale international terrorist network.’
      • ‘I knew what he was doing: he was shaking me down.’
      • ‘They took him to the station and shook him down for a $40,000 bribe.’
      • ‘But you don't want to see them come alongside your boat, head up out of the water with that big fish-eatin’ grin, to shake you down for a snack.’
  • shake someone off

    • 1Get away from someone by shaking their grip loose.

      • ‘He stayed on for all of an instant before the dragon began trying to shake him off wildly, bucking and throwing Dean forward.’
      • ‘But I shook her off, climbing the stairs in a hurry to escape her poisonous comments and manipulative advice.’
      • ‘I shook him off, but he just clung closer like some parasite hanging for its dear life.’
      • ‘Another night a young boy clasped me - I just couldn't shake him off - and begged me to get him into a film after he had got a knock-back at the door from the police.’
      • ‘She tried to hold the hand of a slightly older girl who freaked out and shook her off, but she seemed content enough even when the lights dimmed down to black.’
      • ‘I shook him off but he grabbed me again, pulling me so that I tumbled back into his arms.’
      • ‘When I shook her off, she only grinned, as if it was a challenge.’
      • ‘I shook him off, trying to hide my smile so that he wouldn't see it as an invitation to start playing again.’
      • ‘He shook her off quickly and gave her a look that told her she was crazy.’
      • ‘She angrily shook him off after he had dragged her a few feet away.’
      1. 1.1Manage to evade or outmaneuver someone who is following or pestering one.
        ‘he thought he had shaken off his pursuer’
        • ‘An anxious-looking lady followed me relentlessly down a street; I tried to shake her off by suddenly crossing the road, pretending to look in a reject china shop.’
        • ‘But much to the Americans' surprise, the Eurofighter shook them off, outmanoeuvred them and moved into shooting positions on their tails.’
        • ‘He was making exaggerated movements with the car to try and shake me off.’
        • ‘The youth shook him off, then followed the lieutenant down the front line.’
        • ‘I soon regretted my decision to walk to class with Dan, but managed to shake him off as he entered his classroom.’
        • ‘If by some chance you attract un-cool people, you manage to shake them off with your rapier wit.’
        • ‘When she finally came out, Narcissus shook her off and told her she is no different from the other nymphs who kiss him and say they love him when they see him.’
        • ‘The plane I was following must have noticed I was because it tried to shake me off.’
        • ‘He tried to shake her off but couldn't quite manage it.’
        • ‘Felix had managed to shake her off within seconds of arriving at the camp, citing supervision measures.’
        get away from, escape, elude, give someone the slip, leave behind, throw off, throw off the scent, dodge, lose, get rid of, rid oneself of
        View synonyms
      2. 1.2(in sports, especially a race) outdistance another competitor.
        ‘in the final lap she looked as though she had shaken off the Dutch girl’
        • ‘But try as Cork did they just could not shake Waterford off.’
        • ‘They differ about the means of shaking the Indonesians off, but shaken off they agree they must be.’
        • ‘Then, of course, Andersson accelerated and shook him off to win.’
        • ‘As it is, she scrapped and chased and foraged for every single ball, and I simply couldn't shake her off.’
  • shake something off

    • Successfully deal with or recover from an illness or injury.

      ‘she has shaken off a virus’
      • ‘I shook it off as Mario and I dealt with the last of the guards in the area.’
      • ‘We do not have to settle for every misery fate and humanity have heaped upon us, but should fight back, to see which ones can be shaken off.’
      • ‘Later, even critics lauded him for his agility in the dance sequences, little realising that it was a man in pain shaking it off, all for his fans.’
      • ‘With that, Sam shook the memory off and turned her horse around.’
      • ‘Before today, every time Sophie visited this memory, she shook it off as coincidence.’
      • ‘Your ego was bruised by a former flame, and you're having trouble shaking it off.’
      • ‘My friend the Giant Swede was one of those sorts in his youth, but he shook it off.’
      • ‘He shook the memory off and looked at Jonas warily.’
      • ‘Is it possible that perceptions and prejudices formed over millennia are shaken off in one go?’
      • ‘A strange thought had wormed its way into my mind and I was unable to shake it off.’
      recover from, get over, get better after
      View synonyms
  • shake on

    • Confirm (an agreement) by shaking hands.

      ‘they shook on the deal’
      • ‘The room was silent as Lee and I shook on the agreement, than it suddenly came to life as the guys blurted out in a cheer.’
      • ‘Abbas and Sharon shake on the latest peace agreement.’
      • ‘When leaving Nottingham Forrest, he supposedly agreed to join Blackburn, shook on the deal and then switched to Manchester United and automatically fell out with the Scotsman.’
      • ‘Rumours abound that the Kiwi might be persuaded to stay on in Scotland, but once a man of his integrity shakes on a deal it is hard to imagine him backing out.’
      • ‘Cowen is also well-regarded, perceived as a straight-talker and one who will stick to an agreement once he shakes on it.’
      • ‘This guards against bully-boy tactics such as where a more senior party from the other side arrives to rubbish the deal just as their subordinate is poised to shake on it.’
      • ‘The two shook on an agreement long ago where Durst pays Biddle a small base salary, plus extras for other tasks.’
      • ‘He held out his hand, palm up as if offering to shake on a deal.’
      • ‘Blaise took his hand as they shook on the agreement.’
      • ‘He remembers Ferguson staring up at him as they shook on the deal.’
  • shake out

    • Eventually prove to happen.

      ‘we'll see what shakes out’
      • ‘But this time it doesn't shake out quite that way.’
      • ‘And that just is going to have to shake out in the weeks to come.’
      • ‘But these three particular seats, the way they're shaking out, don't look like they're going to cause too many problems for the Republicans.’
      • ‘But all that law is still in flux, and who knows how it will eventually shake out?’
      • ‘And how it will shake out, what his role will be, what other people's role will be remains to be seen.’
      • ‘Indeed, his team's performance was clearly affected by injuries, but the way the play-offs shook out was largely a result of his misplaying his hand.’
      • ‘When it does eventually come up it's to see how things have shaken out.’
      • ‘We read labels on processed food to see how the calories shook out.’
      • ‘I mean, certainly it's hard to know how this shakes out.’
      • ‘I think he was fairly blunt with me when he said I have no idea how this is going to shake out.’
  • shake someone up

    • Rouse someone from lethargy, apathy, or complacency.

      ‘he had to do something to shake the team up—we lacked spark’
      • ‘It certainly made me want to shake him up at times and say, come on, Stevens, have a life…’
      • ‘To have someone love me like that was utterly incredible for me, and it shook me up.’
      • ‘He told him the manager's criticism was for the good of the team, that his words were designed to shake him up, not put him down.’
      • ‘The Beagle 2 is to address a question that could equally shake us up and our view of ourselves and the universe.’
      • ‘I'm still happy and all, but something happened today that shook me up.’
      • ‘I like the Telegraph but, despite doctor's advice, get the Independent and Guardian a couple of times a week to shake me up and let the descendants get a different world view from my rants.’
      • ‘This really shook Mel up and caused him to ask himself if his life was going in the right direction.’
      • ‘In desperation I invented a reason to drive over to Minehead, thinking that the hustle and bustle of the town would shake me up, get me going again.’
      put some life into, enliven, put some spark into, liven up, stir up, rouse, get going
      View synonyms
  • shake something up

    • 1Mix ingredients by shaking.

      ‘use soap flakes shaken up in the water to make bubbles’
    • 2Make radical changes to the organization or structure of an institution or system.

      ‘he presented plans to shake up the legal profession’
      • ‘I didn't expect it, though I probably should've, but Logan was formulating some plans for how to shake things up with my social life as well.’
      • ‘Does that mean that he has plans to shake things up on the Max Bell stage?’
      • ‘Being the on-the-edge kind of person he is, Terry cannot help but shake things up in Sammy's very ordered and well structured household.’
      • ‘Still, I've been thinking, if you're going to shake this thing up, maybe my initial plan didn't go far enough.’
      • ‘Perhaps the company will shake things up a bit when it does a consumer launch, planned for the fourth quarter.’
      • ‘There is no shortage of proposals and initiatives to shake the system up.’
      • ‘It is about time the flooring industry was shaken up and customers were considered, and that was the motivation in combining the best technology and old - fashioned service to deliver huge reductions and a better way to buy flooring.’
      • ‘Since the start of last year the portfolio line-up has been shaken up from time to time.’
      • ‘It's about time the health service was shaken up though time will tell whether it will be a success.’
      • ‘Finally, it must be commented upon: kudos go to organizers for having the guts and ingenuity to shake things up a bit.’
      reorganize, restructure, revolutionize, alter dramatically, make far-reaching changes in, transform, reform, overhaul, update
      View synonyms
  • shake something down

    • Cause something to fall or settle by shaking.

      • ‘It's even less of a shock if you get the chance to watch them take hold of the stage and shake the house down.’
      • ‘Earthquakes necessitate building of houses out of wood, slight shocks frightening Wellington occasionally; one in particular 26 years ago partially shook the town down, thereby causing panic.’
      • ‘The rancher removed a thermometer from his pocket, shook it down and placed it in the left vent of the fireplace, carefully timing the operation with his wristwatch.’
      • ‘She moved the high ponytail on her head lower, briefly shaking her hair down before pulling it back again.’
      • ‘Another fire gutted the old station and office building, which had been set aside for preservation, and its remains were shaken down by an earthquake a little while later.’
  • shake something out

    • 1Empty something out by shaking a container.

      ‘he shook out a handful of painkillers’
      • ‘He grabbed his jacket and shook out his cellphone.’
      • ‘Snap on the lid, turn the container over and shake the seed out.’
      • ‘Tarantino is very clear about this: we see Bill open the bottle and drink the first shot in a single gulp, and we see him trying to shake the last drop out of the bottle when it is empty.’
      • ‘The piggy bank soon becomes just a cute ornament in his room since coins are shaken out of it as fast as they fall in.’
      • ‘She shook a tablet out of the container onto her outstretched palm.’
      • ‘In Korea, the glass is emptied and the last few drops are shaken out, then it is passed to the guest and the host refills the glass.’
      • ‘He shook paperbacks out of the carrier bags, spreading them over the bed.’
    • 2Spread or open something such as a cloth or garment by shaking it.

      ‘she shook out the newspaper’
      • ‘I shake out the towel and satisfy them with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, goldfish, and apple juice.’
      • ‘Mailroom personnel can open up any suspect mail under its protective hood and shake it out to ensure there are no dangerous substances inside.’
      1. 2.1Restore something crumpled to its natural shape by shaking.
        ‘she undid her helmet and shook out her frizzled hair’
        • ‘Brian wheeled the bike off around the building, and Tess continued talking as she untied the kerchief and shook out her shoulder length gray streaked hair.’
        • ‘Flipping her head upside down, she shook out her hair, willing the black mass to dry faster and blindly trying to locate her violet eyeliner with her left hand as she did so.’
        • ‘I'd shaken my hair out as well, leaving it to flow down my back.’
        • ‘They're practical - you don't wash them, just shake them out.’
        • ‘Tugging at the helmet, I shook out my now dry hair.’
        • ‘I pulled up in the circle drive to the front of the house and pulled my helmet off, shaking my hair out.’
        • ‘I got used to it and just made sure you shook out your sleeping stuff.’
        • ‘Then she set aside the broom in a corner and stripped the sheets off her own bed, moved to a window she had opened while she cleaned, and shook the sheets out until her arms were sore and then some.’
        • ‘It was said that on returning from campaign each year he would have his mail shirt shaken out over a chest, so that he could eventually be buried in the dust of all his campaigns.’
      2. 2.2Unwind or untie a reef to increase the area of a sail.
        • ‘Indeed, given his own preferences, Holderman thought he might actually have reduced sail, or at least left the night's reefs in rather than shaking them out, if only to give himself a little more time to avoid any ice his lookouts spotted.’


Old English sc(e)acan (verb), of Germanic origin.