shakedown

or shake-down

[ sheyk-doun ]
/ ˈʃeɪkˌdaʊn /

noun

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

Definition for shake down (2 of 2)

Origin of shake

before 900; (v.) Middle English s(c)haken, Old English sceacan; cognate with Low German schacken, Old Norse skaka; (noun) derivative of the v.

SYNONYMS FOR shake

1 oscillate, waver. Shake, quiver, tremble, vibrate refer to an agitated movement that, in living things, is often involuntary. To shake is to agitate more or less quickly, abruptly, and often unevenly so as to disturb the poise, stability, or equilibrium of a person or thing: a pole shaking under his weight. To quiver is to exhibit a slight vibratory motion such as that resulting from disturbed or irregular (surface) tension: The surface of the pool quivered in the breeze. To tremble (used more often of a person) is to be agitated by intermittent, involuntary movements of the muscles, much like shivering and caused by fear, cold, weakness, great emotion, etc.: Even stout hearts tremble with dismay. To vibrate is to exhibit a rapid, rhythmical motion: A violin string vibrates when a bow is drawn across it.
2 shudder, shiver.
14 daunt.

OTHER WORDS FROM shake

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH shake

shake sheik (see synonym study at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for shake down (1 of 2)

shake down

verb (adverb)

noun shakedown

British Dictionary definitions for shake down (2 of 2)

shake
/ (ʃeɪk) /

verb shakes, shaking, shook or shaken (ˈʃeɪkən)

noun

Derived forms of shake

shakable or shakeable, adjective

Word Origin for shake

Old English sceacan; related to Old Norse skaka to shake, Old High German untscachōn to be driven
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

Idioms and Phrases with shake down (1 of 2)

shake down

1

Extort money from, as in They had quite a racket, shaking down merchants for so-called protection. [Slang; second half of 1800s]

2

Make a thorough search of, as in They shook down all the passengers, looking for drugs. [Slang early 1900s]

3

Subject a new vehicle or machine to a tryout, as in We'll shake down the new model next week.

4

Become acclimated or accustomed, to a new place, job, or the like, as in Is this your first job? You'll soon shake down. [Mid-1800s]

Idioms and Phrases with shake down (2 of 2)

shake

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

also see:

  • all shook (shaken) up
  • fair shake
  • in two shakes
  • more than one can shake a stick at
  • movers and shakers
  • no great shakes
  • quake (shake) in one's boots
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.