- either of the two lower limbs of a biped, as a human being, or any of the paired limbs of an animal, arthropod, etc., that support and move the body.
- Anatomy. the lower limb of a human being from the knee to the ankle.
- something resembling or suggesting a leg in use, position, or appearance.
- the part of a garment that covers the leg: the leg of a stocking; trouser leg.
- one of usually several, relatively tall, slender supports for a piece of furniture.
- one of the sides of a forked object, as of a compass or pair of dividers.
- one of the sides of a triangle other than the base or hypotenuse.
- a timber, bar, or the like, serving to prop or shore up a structure.
- one of the flanges of an angle iron.
- one of the distinct sections of any course: the last leg of a trip.
- one of the series of straight runs that make up the zigzag course of a sailing ship.
- one straight or nearly straight part of a multiple-sided course in a sailing race.
- one of a designated number of contests that must be successfully completed in order to determine the winner.
- one of the stretches or sections of a relay race.
- legs, (in wine tasting) the rivulets of wine that slowly descend along the inside of a glass after the wine has been swirled, sometimes regarded as an indication that the wine is full-bodied.
- the part of the field to the left of and behind the batsman as he faces the bowler or to the right of and behind him if he is left-handed.
- the fielder playing this part of the field.
- the position of this fielder.
- Electricity. a component or branch of a circuit, network, antenna, etc.
- Radio and Television. a connecting link between stations in a network, as the microwave relays used in transmitting a show from one geographical area to another.
- bride2(def 1).
- to move or propel (a boat) with the legs: They legged the boat through the tunnel.
- leg up, to help (someone) to mount a horse.
- leg it, Informal. to walk rapidly or run: We'd better leg it or we'll be late for class.
- leg up,
- a means of help or encouragement; assist; boost: Studying the material with a tutor will give you a leg up on passing the exam.
- advantage; edge.
- not have a leg to stand on, to lack a valid or logical basis for one's argument or attitude: Without evidence, the prosecutor doesn't have a leg to stand on.
- on one's/its last legs, just short of exhaustion, breakdown, failure, etc.: The aristocracy was on its last legs.
- pull someone's leg,
- to make fun of someone; tease.
- to deceive someone; trick someone.
- shake a leg, Informal.
- to hurry up.
- Older Use.to dance.
- stretch one's legs, to take a walk; get some needed exercise after prolonged sitting: He got up during the intermission to stretch his legs.
Origin of leg
- to move or sway with short, quick, irregular vibratory movements.
- to tremble with emotion, cold, etc.
- to become dislodged and fall (usually followed by off or down): Sand shakes off easily.
- to move something, or its support or container, briskly to and fro or up and down, as in mixing: Shake before using.
- to totter; become unsteady.
- to clasp another's hand in greeting, agreement, congratulations, etc.: Let's shake and be friends again.
- Music. to execute a trill.
- to move (something or its support or container) to and fro or up and down with short, quick, forcible movements: to shake a bottle of milk.
- to brandish or flourish: to shake a stick at someone.
- to grasp (someone or something) firmly in an attempt to move or rouse by, or as by, vigorous movement to and fro: We shook the tree.
- to dislodge or dispense (something) by short, quick, forcible movements of its support or container: We shook nuts from the tree.
- to cause to sway, rock, totter, etc.: to shake the very foundations of society.
- to agitate or disturb profoundly in feeling: The experience shook him badly.
- to cause to doubt or waver; weaken. to shake one's self-esteem.
- Music. to trill (a note).
- to mix (dice) by rolling in the palm of the hand before they are cast.
- to get rid of; elude: They tried to shake their pursuers.
- an act or instance of shaking, rocking, swaying, etc.
- tremulous motion.
- a tremor.
- shakes, (used with a singular verb) Informal. a state or spell of trembling, as caused by fear, fever, cold, etc. (usually preceded by the).
- a disturbing blow; shock.
- Informal. milk shake.
- the act or a manner of clasping another's hand in greeting, agreement, etc.: He has a strong shake.
- Informal. chance or fate; deal: a fair shake.
- a cast of the dice: He threw an eight on his last shake.
- something resulting from shaking.
- an earthquake.
- a fissure in the earth.
- an internal crack or fissure in timber.
- Music. trill1(def 9).
- an instant: I'll be with you in a shake.
- Carpentry. a shingle or clapboard formed by splitting a short log into a number of tapered radial sections with a hatchet.
- Horology. (in an escapement) the distance between the nearer corner of one pallet and the nearest tooth of the escape wheel when the other pallet arrests an escape tooth.
- Chiefly South Midland U.S. shaker(def 2).
- a dance deriving from the twist.
- Slang. the dried leaves of the marijuana plant.
- shake down,
- to cause to descend by shaking; bring down.
- to cause to settle.
- to condition; test: to shake down a ship.
- Informal.to extort money from.
- Slang.to search (someone), especially to detect concealed weapons.
- shake off,
- to rid oneself of; reject.
- to get away from; leave behind.
- Baseball, Softball.(of a pitcher) to indicate rejection of (a sign by the catcher for a certain pitch) by shaking the head or motioning with the glove.
- shake up,
- to shake in order to mix or loosen.
- to upset; jar.
- to agitate mentally or physically: The threat of attack has shaken up the entire country.
- no great shakes, Informal. of no particular ability; unimportant; common: As opera companies go, this one is no great shakes.
- shake a leg, Informal.
- to hurry up; get a move on: You'd better shake a leg or we'll miss the first act.
- to dance.
- shake hands. hand(def 79).
- shake one's head,
- to indicate disapproval, disagreement, negation, or uncertainty by turning one's head from one side to the other and back: I asked him if he knew the answer, but he just shook his head.
- to indicate approval, agreement, affirmation or acceptance by nodding one's head up and down.
- shake the dust from one's feet. dust(def 26).
- two shakes (of a lamb's tail), a very short time; a moment.
Origin of shake
SynonymsSee more synonyms for shake on Thesaurus.com
- either of the two lower limbs, including the bones and fleshy covering of the femur, tibia, fibula, and patella
- (as modifier)leg guard; leg rest Related adjective: crural
- any similar or analogous structure in animals that is used for locomotion or support
- this part of an animal, esp the thigh, used for foodleg of lamb
- something similar to a leg in appearance or function, such as one of the four supporting members of a chair
- a branch, limb, or part of a forked or jointed object
- the part of a garment that covers the leg
- a section or part of a journey or course
- a single stage, lap, length, etc, in a relay race
- either one of two races on which a cumulative bet has been placed
- either the opposite or adjacent side of a right-angled triangle
- the distance travelled without tacking
- (in yacht racing) the course between any two marks
- one of a series of games, matches, or parts of games
- the side of the field to the left of a right-handed batsman as he faces the bowler
- (as modifier)a leg slip; leg stump
- give someone a leg up
- to help someone to climb an obstacle by pushing upwards
- to help someone to advance
- have legs informal to be successful or show the potential to succeed
- not have a leg to stand on to have no reasonable or logical basis for an opinion or argument
- on its last legs worn out; exhausted
- pull someone's leg informal to tease, fool, or make fun of someone
- shake a leg informal
- to hurry up: usually used in the imperative
- to dance
- show a leg informal to get up in the morning
- stretch one's legs See stretch (def. 17)
- (tr) obsolete to propel (a canal boat) through a tunnel by lying on one's back and walking one's feet along the tunnel roof
- leg it informal to walk, run, or hurry
- to move or cause to move up and down or back and forth with short quick movements; vibrate
- to sway or totter or cause to sway or totter
- to clasp or grasp (the hand) of (a person) in greeting, agreement, etche shook John by the hand; he shook John's hand; they shook and were friends
- shake hands to clasp hands in greeting, agreement, etc
- shake on it informal to shake hands in agreement, reconciliation, etc
- to bring or come to a specified condition by or as if by shakinghe shook free and ran
- (tr) to wave or brandishhe shook his sword
- (tr often foll by up) to rouse, stir, or agitate
- (tr) to shock, disturb, or upsethe was shaken by the news of her death
- (tr) to undermine or weakenthe crisis shook his faith
- to mix (dice) by rattling in a cup or the hand before throwing
- (tr) Australian archaic, slang to steal
- (tr) US and Canadian informal to escape fromcan you shake that detective?
- music to perform a trill on (a note)
- (tr) US informal to fare or progress; happen as specifiedhow's it shaking?
- shake a leg informal to hurry: usually used in the imperative
- shake in one's shoes to tremble with fear or apprehension
- shake one's head to indicate disagreement or disapproval by moving the head from side to side
- shake the dust from one's feet to depart gladly or with the intention not to return
- the act or an instance of shaking
- a tremor or vibration
- the shakes informal a state of uncontrollable trembling or a condition that causes it, such as a fever
- informal a very short period of time; jiffyin half a shake
- a shingle or clapboard made from a short log by splitting it radially
- a fissure or crack in timber or rock
- an instance of shaking dice before casting
- music another word for trill 1 (def. 1)
- a dance, popular in the 1960s, in which the body is shaken convulsively in time to the beat
- an informal name for earthquake
- short for milk shake
- no great shakes informal of no great merit or value; ordinary
Word Origin and History for shake a leg
Old English sceacan "move (something) quickly to and fro, brandish; move the body or a part of it rapidly back and forth;" also "go, glide, hasten, flee, depart" (cf. sceacdom "flight"); of persons or parts of the body, "to tremble" especially from fever, cold, fear" (class VI strong verb; past tense scoc, past participle scacen), from Proto-Germanic *skakanan (cf. Old Norse, Swedish skaka, Danish skage "to shift, turn, veer"). No certain cognates outside Germanic, but some suggest a possible connection to Sanskrit khaj "to agitate, churn, stir about," Old Church Slavonic skoku "a leap, bound," Welsh ysgogi "move."
Of the earth in earthquakes, c.1300. Meaning "seize and shake (someone or something else)" is from early 14c. In reference to mixing ingredients, etc., by shaking a container from late 14c. Meaning "to rid oneself of by abrupt twists" is from c.1200, also in Middle English in reference to evading responsibility, etc. Meaning "weaken, impair" is from late 14c., on notion of "make unstable."
To shake hands dates from 1530s. Shake a (loose) leg "hurry up" first recorded 1904; shake a heel (sometimes foot) was an old way to say "to dance" (1660s); to shake (one's) elbow (1620s) meant "to gamble at dice." Phrase more _____ than you can shake a stick at is attested from 1818, American English. To shake (one's) head as a sign of disapproval is recorded from c.1300.
late 14c., "charge, onrush," from shake (v.). Meaning "a hard shock" is from 1560s. From 1580s as "act of shaking;" 1660s as "irregular vibration." The hand-grip salutation so called by 1712. As a figure of instantaneous action, it is recorded from 1816. Phrase fair shake "honest deal" is attested from 1830, American English. The shakes "nervous agitation" is from 1620s. Short for milk shake from 1911. Dismissive phrase no great shakes (1816, Byron) perhaps is from dicing.
"to use the legs; walk or run," c.1500 (from the beginning usually with it); from leg (n.).
late 13c., from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse leggr "leg, bone of the arm or leg," from Proto-Germanic *lagjaz, with no certain ulterior connections, perhaps from a PIE root meaning "to bend" [Buck]. Cf. German Bein "leg," in Old High German "bone, leg." Replaced Old English shank. Of furniture supports from 1670s. The meaning "a part or stage of a journey or race" (1920) is from earlier sailing sense of "a run made on a single tack" (1867), which was usually qualified as long leg, short leg, etc. Slang phrase shake a leg "dance" is attested from 1881. To be on (one's) last legs "at the end of one's life" is from 1590s.
- One of the two lower limbs of the human body, especially the part between the knee and the foot.
- A supporting part resembling a leg in shape or function.
Idioms and Phrases with shake a leg
shake a leg
Dance, as in Whenever there was music he was eager to shake a leg. [Colloquial; first half of 1800s]
Hurry up, as in Shake a leg or we'll miss the plane. [Colloquial; first half of 1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with shake
- shake a leg
- shake a stick at
- shake down
- shake hands
- shake in one's boots
- shake off
- shake one's head
- shake someone's tree
- shake the dust from one's feet
- shake up
- shake with laughter