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or shake-down

[sheyk-doun] /ˈʃeɪkˌdaʊn/
extortion, as by blackmail or threats of violence.
a thorough search:
a shakedown of prison cells to uncover hidden drugs.
a bed, as of straw or blankets, spread on the floor.
any makeshift bed.
the act or process of shaking down.
Also called shakedown cruise, shakedown flight. a cruise or flight intended to prepare a new vessel or aircraft for regular service by accustoming the crew to its features and peculiarities, breaking in and adjusting machinery, etc.
Origin of shakedown
First recorded in 1490-1500; noun, adj. use of verb phrase shake down Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shakedown
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I'll come in later, and if they'll make me a shakedown, I'll stay with you to-night.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • We'll scare you up a shakedown to sleep on and you're welcome as welcome.

  • You and I are to sleep here, Mary,” she said, “and Peter is to have a shakedown in the sitting-room.

    Peter Trawl W. H. G. Kingston
  • I assure you, my dear friends, it's a shakedown fit for a prince!

    Willy Reilly William Carleton
  • "He said he'd beg a shakedown at your house, Violet," George interrupted.

    Sonia Married Stephen McKenna
  • He walked absently through the not-unpleasant routine of the shakedown.

    The Syndic C.M. Kornbluth
  • This money is yours—and you will have a shakedown for the night—only on condition that you stick to what you've said.

    Dead Man's Love Tom Gallon
  • There was to be a cruiser waiting at Bremerton for a shakedown cruise.

    Cue for Quiet Thomas L. Sherred
Slang definitions & phrases for shakedown



  1. A night's lodging; an impromptu bed: I'll get a shakedown on the couch (1730+)
  2. An instance of or a demand for blackmail, extortion, etc; victimization by the protection racket: Listen, I know this is a shakedown (1902+ Underworld)
  3. thorough search of a person or place; shake: We gave the room a first-class shakedown (1914+)
  4. A trying-out or first tentative use, esp of a machine, ship, process, etc: Let's give this new idea a shakedown and see if it works (1930s+)

[final sense fr shakedown cruise; all senses fr the notion of a vigorous shaking of a person or place to reveal something hidden, a flaw, etc]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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