shack up


1 [shak]
a rough cabin; shanty.
Informal. radio shack.
Verb phrases
shack up, Slang.
to live together as spouses without being legally married.
to have illicit sexual relations.
to live in a shack: He's shacked up in the mountains.

1875–80, Americanism; compare earlier shackly rickety, probably akin to ramshackle (Mexican Spanish jacal “hut” is a phonetically impossible source) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To shack up
World English Dictionary
shack1 (ʃæk)
1.  a roughly built hut
2.  (South African) temporary accommodation put together by squatters
3.  See shack up
[C19: perhaps from dialect shackly ramshackle, from dialect shack to shake]

shack2 (ʃæk)
dialect (Midland English) to evade (work or responsibility)

shack up
vb (usually foll by with)
slang to live or take up residence, esp with a mistress or lover

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1878, Amer.Eng. and Canadian Eng., of unknown origin, perhaps from Mex.Sp. jacal, from Nahuatl xacalli "wooden hut." Or perhaps a back-formation from dial. Eng. shackly "shaky, rickety" (1843), a derivative of shack, a dial. variant of shake (q.v.). Another theory derives
shack from ramshackle. Slang verb phrase shack up "cohabit" first recorded 1935 (in Zora Neale Hurston).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

shack up

  1. Sleep together or live in sexual intimacy without being married. For example, They had been dating for two months and then decided to shack up. [Slang; first half of 1900s]

  2. Stay or reside with, as in I'm shacking up with my cousin till I find a place of my own. [Slang; first half of 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature