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[sheyk-doun] /ˈʃeɪkˌdaʊn/
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.
Also, shake-down.
Origin of shakedown
1490-1500; noun, adj. use of verb phrase shake down Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shakedown
  • My favorite though is the end part which is the inevitable shakedown or threat.
  • Should a guard confiscate your headphones during a cell shakedown, seek the earliest opportunity to throw a cup of urine on him.
  • It's too soon to say, but for its first shakedown trip, it actually didn't do badly.
  • The video above shows a covert shakedown drive before the car was shown to the public.
  • It was a milk-and-cookies kind of shakedown thing, buck up the troops.
  • All shakedowns are recorded on unit shakedown logbooks.
  • For deep-field groups, this requirement is in addition to the equipment shakedown trip.
  • After facility shakedown, three stages of testing were conducted: verification testing, parametric testing and long term testing.
  • Bow to the shakedown artists and vote for them when they call.
British Dictionary definitions for shakedown

shake down

verb (adverb)
to fall or settle or cause to fall or settle by shaking
(transitive) (US, slang) to extort money from, esp by blackmail or threats of violence
(transitive) (US, slang) to search thoroughly
(transitive) (informal, mainly US) to submit (a vessel, etc) to a shakedown test
(intransitive) to go to bed, esp to a makeshift bed
(intransitive) (of a person, animal, etc) to settle down
(US, slang) a swindle or act of extortion
(US, slang) a thorough search
a makeshift bed, esp of straw, blankets, etc
(informal, mainly US)
  1. a voyage to test the performance of a ship or aircraft or to familiarize the crew with their duties
  2. (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
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Slang definitions & phrases for shakedown


  1. A night's lodging; an impromptu bed: I'll get a shakedown on the couch (1730+)
  2. An instance of or a demand for blackmail, extortion, etc; victimization by the protection racket: Listen, I know this is a shakedown (1902+ Underworld)
  3. thorough search of a person or place; shake: We gave the room a first-class shakedown (1914+)
  4. A trying-out or first tentative use, esp of a machine, ship, process, etc: Let's give this new idea a shakedown and see if it works (1930s+)

[final sense fr shakedown cruise; all senses fr the notion of a vigorous shaking of a person or place to reveal something hidden, a flaw, etc]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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