Meaning of SHAKE in English


I. shake 1 S3 W2 /ʃeɪk/ BrE AmE verb ( past tense shook /ʃʊk/, past participle shaken /ˈʃeɪkən/)

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ shake , ↑ shaker , ↑ shakiness ; adjective : ↑ shaky , ↑ shaken ; verb : ↑ shake ; adverb : ↑ shakily ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: sceacan ]

1 . MOVE [intransitive and transitive] to move suddenly from side to side or up and down, usually with a lot of force, or to make something or someone do this:

She shook him to wake him up.

Shake the bottle before you open it.

The whole house started to shake.

The car shook as it went over a bump.

shake something out of/off/from something

She shook the sand out of her shoes (=removed it by shaking) .

2 . BODY [intransitive] if someone shakes, or part of their body shakes, they make small sudden movements from side to side or up and down, especially because they are very frightened, cold, ill etc SYN tremble ⇨ shiver :

The little boy’s hand was shaking.

shake with fear/laughter/anger etc

I could see my neighbor shaking with laughter.

What’s wrong with you? You’re shaking like a leaf (=shaking a lot because you are very nervous or frightened) .

be shaking in your shoes/boots (=be very nervous)

I was shaking in my shoes – I thought he was going to fire me.

3 . shake your head to move your head from side to side as a way of saying no, or to show disapproval, surprise, or sadness:

When asked if he wanted anything else, he just shook his head.

Mark shook his head in disbelief.

4 .

shake sb’s hand/shake hands with somebody to move someone’s hand up and down with your own hand as a greeting or as a sign you have agreed something:

He shook my hand warmly.

Wilkins shook hands with him.

If we have a deal, let’s shake on it (=show that we have made an agreement by shaking hands) .

5 . SHOCK [transitive] to make someone feel very upset or shocked:

Kerrie was so shaken by the attack that she won’t go out alone.

The murder shook the whole town.

6 . shake sb’s confidence/beliefs etc to make someone feel less confident, less sure about their beliefs etc:

His confidence was badly shaken.

7 . sb’s voice shakes if someone’s voice is shaking, it is not steady and they sound very worried, angry, or frightened:

Her voice was shaking as she announced the news.

shake with rage/emotion etc

Reg’s voice shook with rage.

8 . shake your fist (at somebody) to show that you are angry by holding up and shaking your tightly closed hand:

He shook his fist at the driver of the other car.

9 . shake a leg spoken used to tell someone to hurry, or quickly start doing something:

C’mon, shake a leg!

• • •


■ adverbs

▪ shake slightly

Adam opened the envelope, his hand shaking slightly.

▪ shake violently

She found him huddled in a corner, shaking violently.

▪ shake uncontrollably

His whole body shook uncontrollably.

▪ be shaking badly (=be shaking a lot)

She had been crying, and was still shaking badly.

▪ be visibly shaking (=be shaking in a way that other people can see)

He was visibly shaking with anger.

■ phrases

▪ shake with laughter

Both women shook with laughter.

▪ shake with anger/fear etc

He stood there shaking with anger.

▪ be shaking all over

She was shaking all over, partly from cold, partly from shock.

▪ be shaking like a leaf (=be shaking a lot because you are nervous or frightened)

Diana was shaking like a leaf when she got up to give her talk.

▪ be shaking in your shoes/boots (=be very nervous)

The President must be shaking in his shoes about Tuesday’s vote.

• • •


■ person

▪ shake if a person or part of their body shakes, they make small sudden continuous movements from side to side or up and down, especially because they are very frightened, cold, ill etc:

Suddenly he started to shake. ‘Don’t ever scare me like that again!’ he whispered.


The poor girl was shaking.

▪ shudder to shake for a short time, especially because you think of something very unpleasant, or because you feel frightened or cold:

Corbett shuddered when he thought of what might have happened to them.


I shuddered when I read the article.


He was still shuddering with the cold.


She clung to him, shuddering with emotion.

▪ tremble to shake slightly in a way that you cannot control, especially because you are frightened, worried, or angry:

Ernest opened the letter in silence, his hands trembling.


Her whole body trembled with fear.


He hadn’t dared to move. He was trembling with shock.


‘I won’t be coming back,’ she said, her body trembling with anger.

▪ shiver to shake slightly, especially only a few times, because you are cold or frightened:

She shivered, pulling her coat closer around herself.


You make me shiver when you talk like that.

▪ quiver especially literary to shake slightly and continuously because you are very worried or excited – used especially about someone’s lips, mouth, or body:

Her bottom lip began to quiver, and she turned away to hide her tears.


Alice’s eyes began to fill with tears and her mouth quivered. ‘I 'm going away,’ she said.

▪ wobble to move unsteadily from side to side:

Mrs Hamilton wobbled precariously on her high heels.

▪ rock to move gently backwards and forwards or from side to side:

He rocked to and fro in his chair.

■ object/vehicle/the ground etc

▪ shake to move suddenly from side to side or up and down, usually with a lot of force:

The floor shook from a distant explosion.


The walls were still shaking.


The trees were shaking in the wind.

▪ rattle to shake and make a noise:

The windows rattled in the wind.


The train was rattling over the bridge.

▪ vibrate to shake continuously with small fast movements:

The music was so loud that the whole room vibrated.


The atoms vibrate at different frequencies.

▪ wobble to move unsteadily from side to side:

The bike began to wobble alarmingly as she fought to control it.


The cup wobbled and he grabbed it to stop it from falling.

▪ rock to move gently backwards and forwards or from side to side:

The trailer rocked in the wind.


The boat was rocking from side to side with the waves.

▪ shudder ( also judder especially British English ) if a vehicle or machine shudders, it shakes for a short time.:

The lift shuddered then began to descend.


The engine shuddered into life (=it shook and then started working) .


The car juddered to a halt (=it shook and then stopped) outside the house.

shake down phrasal verb

1 . shake somebody ↔ down American English informal to get money from someone by using threats ⇨ shakedown :

Corrupt officials were shaking down local business owners.

2 . shake somebody/something ↔ down American English informal to search a person or place thoroughly ⇨ shakedown

3 . if a new situation or arrangement shakes down, people start to get used to it and it becomes more effective:

The restructure has shaken down, and staff are showing a new sense of purpose.

shake somebody/something ↔ off phrasal verb

1 . to get rid of an illness, problem etc:

I can’t seem to shake off this cold.

shake off your image/reputation as something

Outside investment has helped Sheridan to shake off its image as a depressed industrial town.

2 . to escape from someone who is chasing you:

I think we’ve shaken them off.

shake out phrasal verb

1 . shake something ↔ out to shake a cloth, a bag, a sheet etc so that any small pieces of dirt, dust etc come off:

He shook out the handkerchief and put it back in his pocket.

2 . if an organization or industry shakes out, it becomes calmer after a difficult period of time:

He’ll look for bargains after the real estate market shakes out.

3 . shake something ↔ out to change a situation by removing things from it that are not useful or that do not make a profit:

As the airline industry shakes out all but the very fittest, catering companies could face serious troubles.

shake somebody/something ↔ up phrasal verb

1 . to give someone a very unpleasant shock, so that they feel very upset and frightened:

She was badly shaken up by the accident.

⇨ ↑ shaken

2 . to make changes to an organization in order to make it more effective SYN overhaul :

the government’s plans to shake up the educational system

⇨ ↑ shakeup

II. shake 2 BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ shake , ↑ shaker , ↑ shakiness ; adjective : ↑ shaky , ↑ shaken ; verb : ↑ shake ; adverb : ↑ shakily ]

1 . [countable] if you give something a shake, you move it up and down or from side to side:

Give the bottle a good shake before use.

He refused with a shake of the head (=a movement of the head from side to side to mean ˈnoˈ) .

2 . [countable] a cold drink made from milk, ↑ ice cream , and fruit or chocolate SYN milk shake :

a strawberry shake

3 . the shakes nervous shaking of your body caused by illness, fear, too much alcohol, not getting a drug you are dependent on etc:

If I don’t smoke, I get the shakes.

4 . in a couple of shakes/two shakes informal very soon:

I’ll be back in two shakes.

5 . no great shakes spoken not very skilful, or not very good:

He’s no great shakes as a singer.

6 . get/give somebody a fair shake informal to get or give someone fair treatment

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.