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[shey-kee] /ˈʃeɪ ki/
adjective, shakier, shakiest.
tending to shake or tremble.
trembling; tremulous.
liable to break down or give way; insecure; not to be depended upon:
a shaky bridge.
wavering, as in allegiance:
His loyalty, always shaky, was now nonexistent.
Origin of shaky
First recorded in 1695-1705; shake + -y1
Related forms
shakily, adverb
shakiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shakily
Historical Examples
  • "The—ship that was on Orede came in during the night," Maril told him shakily.

    Pariah Planet Murray Leinster
  • He sat up and shakily ran a hand through his wet hair as he spoke.

    The Woman-Haters Joseph C. Lincoln
  • "I can't see the upper sails, sir," declared Gambril shakily.

    The Shadow-Line Joseph Conrad
  • He fumbled in his pocket for a cigarette and shakily lighted it.

    Make Mine Homogenized Rick Raphael
  • shakily, he removed his headband and snapped the playback off.

    Indirection Everett B. Cole
  • “We never have been very conventional with each other,” he replied, shakily.

    The Girl and The Bill

    Bannister Merwin
  • "He has to carry it, his business isn't a very safe one," Julia said shakily.

    The Story Of Julia Page Kathleen Norris
  • I am shakily mad tonight, I believe, from a so slight sticky matter.

    I, Mary MacLane Mary MacLane
  • "I dunno, yet," he said shakily, while his head rolled from side to side.

    Dead Man's Love Tom Gallon
  • Mr. Fletcher clapped a hand to his wound as shakily he rose.

    Once Aboard The Lugger Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson
British Dictionary definitions for shakily


adjective shakier, shakiest
tending to shake or tremble
liable to prove defective; unreliable
uncertain or questionable: your arguments are very shaky
Derived Forms
shakily, adverb
shakiness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shakily



1840, of handwriting; 1841 of persons, horses, and credit; 1850 of structures; from shake (v.) + -y (2). General sense of "uncertain, of questionable integrity" is from 1834. Earliest of trees or logs, "split, having fissures" (1808). Related: Shakily; shakiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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