Did you know?

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

shake - definition and synonyms


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. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb shake pronunciation in British English /ʃeɪk/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleshaking
past tenseshook
past participleshaken
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to make lots of quick small movements up and down, or side to side
    Houses shook as a bomb exploded in the neighbourhood.
    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 off their pursuers.


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

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