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See also: Shake and shakë


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From Middle English schaken, from Old English sċeacan, sċacan (to shake), from Proto-West Germanic *skakan, from Proto-Germanic *skakaną (to shake, swing, escape), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)keg-, *(s)kek- (to jump, move). Cognate with Scots schake, schack (to shake), West Frisian schaekje (to shake), Dutch schaken (to elope, make clean, shake), Low German schaken (to move, shift, push, shake) and schacken (to shake, shock), Norwegian Nynorsk skaka (to shake), Swedish skaka (to shake), Dutch schokken (to shake, shock), Russian скака́ть (skakátʹ, to jump). More at shock.



shake (third-person singular simple present shakes, present participle shaking, simple past shook or (rare) shaked or (slang) shooketh, past participle shaken or (dialectal) shook)

  1. (transitive, ergative) To cause (something) to move rapidly in opposite directions alternatingly.
    The earthquake shook the building.
    He shook the can of soda for thirty seconds before delivering it to me, so that, when I popped it open, soda went everywhere.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, “Meeting Point”, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, OCLC 483591931, page 232:
      Meanwhile Nanny Broome was recovering from her initial panic and now seemed anxious to make up for any kudos she might have lost, by exerting her personality to the utmost. She took the policeman's helmet and placed it on a chair, and unfolded his tunic to shake it and fold it up again for him.
  2. (transitive) To move (one's head) from side to side, especially to indicate refusal, reluctance, or disapproval.
    Shaking his head, he kept repeating “No, no, no”.
  3. (transitive) To move or remove by agitating; to throw off by a jolting or vibrating motion.
    to shake fruit down from a tree
  4. (transitive) To disturb emotionally; to shock.
    Synonym: traumatize
    Her father’s death shook her terribly.
    He was shaken by what had happened.
    • 2013 July 20, “The attack of the MOOCs”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
      Since the launch early last year of […] two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations. University brands built in some cases over centuries have been forced to contemplate the possibility that information technology will rapidly make their existing business model obsolete.
  5. (transitive) To lose, evade, or get rid of (something).
    I can’t shake the feeling that I forgot something.
  6. (intransitive) To move from side to side.
    Synonyms: shiver, tremble
    She shook with grief.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 23, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      The slightest effort made the patient cough. He would stand leaning on a stick and holding a hand to his side, and when the paroxysm had passed it left him shaking.
  7. (intransitive, usually as "shake on") To shake hands.
    OK, let’s shake on it.
  8. (intransitive) To dance.
    She was shaking it on the dance floor.
  9. To give a tremulous tone to; to trill.
    to shake a note in music
  10. (transitive, figuratively) To threaten to overthrow.
    The experience shook my religious belief.
  11. (intransitive, figuratively) To be agitated; to lose firmness.

Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from shake (verb)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


shake (plural shakes)

  1. The act of shaking or being shaken; tremulous or back-and-forth motion.
    The cat gave the mouse a shake.
    She replied in the negative, with a shake of her head.
  2. A milkshake.
  3. A beverage made by adding ice cream to a (usually carbonated) drink; a float.
  4. Shake cannabis, small, leafy fragments of cannabis that gather at the bottom of a bag of marijuana.
  5. (US, slang, uncountable) An adulterant added to cocaine powder.[1]
    • 1989, Terry Williams, The Cocaine Kids, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, Chapter 2, p. 35,[2]
      [] most suppliers will allow up to 120 grams of shake to a kilo, or 12 percent; kilo-level buyers are usually unhappy if they find more.
  6. (building material) A thin shingle.
  7. A crack or split between the growth rings in wood.
  8. A fissure in rock or earth.
  9. A basic wooden shingle made from split logs, traditionally used for roofing etc.
  10. (informal) Instant, second. (Especially in two shakes.)
  11. (nautical) One of the staves of a hogshead or barrel taken apart.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Totten to this entry?)
  12. (music) A rapid alternation of a principal tone with another represented on the next degree of the staff above or below it; a trill.
  13. (music) In singing, notes (usually high ones) sung vibrato.
    • 1831, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Romance and Reality, volume 3, page 263:
      A Signora Rossinuola, with the face of a goddess, and the voice of an angel, made her first curtsy that evening to the Neapolitans. She was received with the most rapturous applause. Nothing was heard of next day but her shake and her smile.
  14. A shook of staves and headings.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
  15. (Britain, dialect) The redshank, so called from the nodding of its head while on the ground.
  16. A shock or disturbance.
    • 1864, Elizabeth Gaskell, Cousin Phillis
      As long as I had seen Mr Holdsworth in the rooms at the little inn at Hensleydale, where I had been accustomed to look upon him as an invalid, I had not been aware of the visible shake his fever had given to his health.

Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from shake (noun)


See also[edit]

  • (crack or split in wood): knot



  1. ^ Tom Dalzell (ed.), The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English, New York: Routledge, 2009, p. 858.




  1. Rōmaji transcription of しゃけ
  2. Rōmaji transcription of シャケ



shake m (plural shakes)

  1. shake (drink)