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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shaky
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now the man had an old grandfather at home, who was weak and shaky.

  • shaky was on his feet in an instant, and his anger was blazing in his fierce eyes.

    The Night Riders Ridgwell Cullum
  • He weighed the stories he had heard from shaky, and picked them threadbare.

    The Night Riders Ridgwell Cullum
  • She found it very hard to speak and, when she did do so, her voice was shaky.

    Galusha the Magnificent Joseph C. Lincoln
  • It is so shaky nowadays that I can scarcely decipher some of it.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
British Dictionary definitions for shaky


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 shaky

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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