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1. To rid or free oneself from someone or something that one finds aggravating, upsetting, or annoying. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shake" and "off." My little brother has been following me around all day. I need to shake him off. He had a hard time shaking off the feeling that someone was spying on him.
2. To shake something in order to get something off of it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shake" and "off." I had to shake off the old tarp to get the bugs and dirt off of it. Shake the blanket off before you lay it out.
3. To dislodge or get rid of something by shaking. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shake" and "off." He tried to shake the tick off, but it had dug itself into his skin. Don't shake the mud off inside—go out in the back yard and do it!
4. To recover from or fend off a disease or illness, especially a minor one. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shake" and "off." I've got to shake this tummy bug off—I can't afford to be sick before our big meeting! I've had this cold for nearly a week that I just can't seem to shake off! I could feel myself getting sick, but I managed to shake it off.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
shake a disease or illness off
Fig. [for the body] to fight off a disease or illness. I thought I was catching a cold, but I guess I shook it off. I hope I can shake off this flu pretty soon.
shake someone or something off
Fig. to get rid of someone; to get free of someone who is bothering you. Stop bothering me! What do I have to do to shake you off? I wish I could shake off John. He's such a pest!
shake something off
to get rid of something that is on one by shaking. (See also shake a disease or illness off.) I tried to shake the spider off. The dog shook off the blanket Billy had put on him.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Free oneself or get rid of something or someone, as in I've had a hard time shaking off this cold, or She forged ahead, shaking off all the other runners. It is also put as give someone the shake, as in We managed to give our pursuers the shake. The first term dates from the late 1300s; the slangy variant dates from the second half of the 1800s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To shake something so as to dislodge what is on it: We shook off the picnic blanket to get rid of the grasshoppers. I picked up the beach towel and shook it off.
2. To get rid of something by shaking: The dog climbed out of the creek and shook off the water. I shook the snow off my jacket and hung it up.
3. To free oneself of something; get rid of something: We shook off our fear and proceeded into the dark cave. The injured player shook the pain off and continued to play.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.