Origin of shack

1825–35, Americanism; apparently special use of dial. shack to shake Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shacked

Contemporary Examples of shacked

Historical Examples of shacked

  • “Oh, we had lunch with your friend Fothergill and shacked about,” Cecil answered.

    Mr. Marx's Secret

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • He told her everything he thought as they shacked erlong together, I reckon, an' she remembers it.

    Rimrock Trail

    J. Allan Dunn

British Dictionary definitions for shacked


  1. a roughly built hut
  2. Southern African temporary accommodation put together by squatters
  1. See shack up

Word Origin for shack

C19: perhaps from dialect shackly ramshackle, from dialect shack to shake


  1. Midland English dialect to evade (work or responsibility)
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

Word Origin and History for shacked



1878, American English and Canadian English, of unknown origin, perhaps from Mexican Spanish jacal, from Nahuatl xacalli "wooden hut." Or perhaps a back-formation from dialectal English shackly "shaky, rickety" (1843), a derivative of shack, a dialectal variant of shake (v.). Another theory derives shack from ramshackle.

Slang meaning "house" attested by 1910. In early radio enthusiast slang, it was the word for a room or office set aside for wireless use, 1919, perhaps from earlier U.S. Navy use (1917). As a verb, 1891 in the U.S. West in reference to men who "hole up" for the winter; from 1927 as "to put up for the night;" phrase shack up "cohabit" first recorded 1935 (in Zora Neale Hurston).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper