or shake-down

[ sheyk-doun ]
See synonyms for shakedown on
  1. extortion, as by blackmail or threats of violence.

  2. a thorough search: a shakedown of prison cells to uncover hidden drugs.

  1. a bed, as of straw or blankets, spread on the floor.

  2. any makeshift bed.

  3. the act or process of shaking down.

  4. 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

Words Nearby shakedown Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use shakedown in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for shake down

shake down

  1. to fall or settle or cause to fall or settle by shaking

  2. (tr) US slang to extort money from, esp by blackmail or threats of violence

  1. (tr) US slang to search thoroughly

  2. (tr) informal, mainly US to submit (a vessel, etc) to a shakedown test

  3. (intr) to go to bed, esp to a makeshift bed

  4. (intr) (of a person, animal, etc) to settle down

  1. US slang a swindle or act of extortion

  2. US slang a thorough search

  1. a makeshift bed, esp of straw, blankets, etc

  2. informal, mainly US

    • a voyage to test the performance of a ship or aircraft or to familiarize the crew with their duties

    • (as modifier): a shakedown run

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with shakedown


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

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.