American English

Definition of shake verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they shake
    he / she / it shakes
    past simple shook
    past participle shaken
    -ing form shaking
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  1. 1[intransitive, transitive] to move or make someone or something move with short, quick movements from side to side or up and down The whole house shakes when a train goes past. shake somebody/something Shake the bottle well before use. He shook her violently by the shoulders. shake somebody/something + adj. She shook her hair loose.
  2. 2[transitive] shake something + adv./prep. to move something in a particular direction by shaking She bent down to shake a pebble out of her shoe.
  3. your head
  4. 3[transitive] shake your head to turn your head from side to side as a way of saying “no” or to show sadness, disapproval, doubt, etc. She shook her head in disbelief.
  5. hands
  6. 4[transitive] to take someone's hand and move it up and down as a way of saying “hello” or to show that you agree about something shake hands (with somebody) (on something) Do people in Italy shake hands when they meet? They shook hands on the deal (= to show that they had reached an agreement). shake somebody's hand He shook my hand warmly. shake somebody the hand Our host shook each of us warmly by the hand.
  7. your fist
  8. 5[transitive] shake your fist (at somebody) to show that you are angry with someone; to threaten someone by shaking your fist (= closed hand)
  9. of body
  10. 6[intransitive] shake (with something) to make short, quick movements that you cannot control, for example because you are cold or afraid synonym tremble He was shaking with fear. I was shaking like a leaf. Her hands had started to shake.
  11. of voice
  12. 7[intransitive] shake (with something) (of someone's voice) to sound unsteady, usually because you are nervous, upset, or angry “Who are you?” he asked, his voice shaking. Her voice shook with emotion.
  13. shock someone
  14. 8[transitive] (not used in the progressive tenses) to shock or upset someone very much shake somebody He was badly shaken by the news of her death. shake somebody up The accident really shook her up.
  15. belief/idea
  16. 9[transitive] shake something to make a belief or an idea less certain The incident had shaken her faith in him. This announcement is bound to shake the confidence of the industry.
  17. get rid of
  18. 10[transitive] to get rid of something shake something off I can't seem to shake off this cold. shake something He couldn't shake the feeling that there was something wrong.
  19. Idioms
    shake/rock the foundations of something, shake/rock something to its foundations
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    to cause people to question their basic beliefs about something This issue has shaken the foundations of Louisiana politics.
    shake in your shoes (informal)
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    to be very frightened or nervous
    shake a leg (old-fashioned) (informal)
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    used to tell someone to start to do something or to hurry
    Phrasal Verbsshake somebody/somethingdownshake somebodyoffshake on somethingshake somethingoutshake somebodyupshake somethingup
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: shake