no great shakes

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no great shakes

Someone or something that is mediocre, unremarkable, or not very good. A: "Did you enjoy the movie?" B: "Eh, it was no great shakes, but it was something to do for the afternoon." I'm afraid the editor we hired is no great shakes. We might have to look for a replacement.
See also: great, shake

no great shakes

Inf. someone or something that is not very good. (There is no affirmative version of this.) Your idea is no great shakes, but we'll try it anyway. Ted is no great shakes when it comes to brains.
See also: great, shake

no great shakes

Nothing out of the ordinary, mediocre, as in I'm afraid the new pitcher is no great shakes, or What I did with this decorating project was no great shakes. This term possibly alludes to the shaking of dice, which most often yields a mediocre result, but there is no evidence to support this theory. [Early 1800s]
See also: great, shake

no great shakes

INFORMAL
If someone or something is no great shakes, they are not skilful or of good quality. She can write screenplays well enough but she's no great shakes as a director. The novel on which the film is based was no great shakes to start with. Note: This expression probably refers to shaking dice and getting a poor result, although there are other possible explanations.
See also: great, shake

no great shakes

not very good or significant. informal
1989 Guy Vanderhaeghe Homesick I got specs now. Catch better with them than before, but still am no great shakes at ball.
See also: great, shake

no great shakes

phr. someone or something not very good. (There is no affirmative version of this.) Your idea is no great shakes, but we’ll try it anyway.
See also: great, shake

no great shakes

Slang
Unexceptional; ordinary: "stepping in between the victim and the bully, even when the victim happens to be no great shakes" (Louis Auchincloss).
See also: great, shake
References in classic literature ?
Eh, Miss," said Luke, "he'd be no great shakes, I doubt, let's feyther do what he would for him.
Fashion-wise, it's no great shakes either but that doesn't mean the canny fashionista is waiting until the warm weather arrives to get her retail therapy fix.
Like Jock, Jose was no great shakes as a player and he partially owes his rise to fame to the late Bobby Robson, for whom he was a translator.
The James Eustace-trained three-year-old was no great shakes on the level - he was a maiden after 12 runs - but has shown distinct promise in the National Hunt arena.
To be honest, I don't think any of the three beaten provincial finalists to date are any great shakes.
Conclusion Wouldn't have to be any great shakes to land this.
West Indies are no great shakes, they're not even moderate shakes, nor even hippy, hippy shakes.
If Finnish art, unlike Finnish architecture and design, has been no great shakes, it may be because Finnish sensibility, rather like that of the Japanese, spreads itself evenly through all its tasks rather than reserving a Sunday punch for prestigious white-cube rectangles.
Unfortunately, the performance here is no great shakes, at least to these ears.
The newcomer need not be any great shakes and the success of Sir Michael Stoute's two-year-olds suggests he ought to be up to this.
No great shakes in terms of design, but the chat boards are blazing and most of the content is right on.
And she knows, too, that she is no great shakes at romance, being unattractive to most of the young men in her circle.
The table never lies, but Bruce's men are no great shakes.
The addition of those classic cookies is one of the best ways we know of to make our truly great shakes and malts even better.