Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definition

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb shake pronunciation in American English /ʃeɪk/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participleshaking
past tenseshook
past participleshaken
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to make many quick small movements up and down, or side to side

    Houses shook as a bomb exploded in the neighborhood.

    1. b.
      [transitive] to move something quickly up and down or side to side

      An earthquake shook a wide area of southern Italy last year.

      Shake the dressing well before you put it on the salad.

    2. c.
      [transitive] to hold someone and move them quickly in order to get their attention, or to wake them

      "You're not listening!" she cried, shaking him.

  2. 2



    shake off

    [transitive] to get rid of something bad such as a problem, illness, or fear

    She couldn't shake her fear of snakes.

  3. 3
    [intransitive] if your voice shakes, it sounds weak, nervous, or emotional

    His voice shook as he asked her to marry him.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to make something less strong, powerful, or confident

    The news shook financial markets worldwide.

    Violent conflicts between tribes have shaken the region.

  5. 5
    [transitive] to frighten someone, or to cause them to feel strong emotions

    The boy's tragic death shook the entire community.

    He was shaken and upset by the accident.

  6. 6



    shake off

    [transitive] to escape from someone who is following or chasing you

    They ran into the alley, hoping to shake their pursuers.


Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog