adjective, shak·i·er, shak·i·est.

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 formsshak·i·ly, adverbshak·i·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shakily

Historical Examples of shakily

  • "The—ship that was on Orede came in during the night," Maril told him shakily.

    Pariah Planet

    Murray Leinster

  • He sat up and shakily ran a hand through his wet hair as he spoke.

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "I can't see the upper sails, sir," declared Gambril shakily.

    The Shadow-Line

    Joseph Conrad

  • He fumbled in his pocket for a cigarette and shakily lighted it.

  • Shakily, he removed his headband and snapped the playback off.


    Everett B. Cole

British Dictionary definitions for shakily


adjective shakier or shakiest

tending to shake or tremble
liable to prove defective; unreliable
uncertain or questionableyour arguments are very shaky
Derived Formsshakily, adverbshakiness, 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

Word Origin and History for shakily



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