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1. Literally, to remove dirt, crumbs, or other debris from a rug, linen, article of clothing, etc., by shaking it vigorously. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shake" and "out." You'll need to shake out the welcome mat after that mud gets dry. I cover the sofa with a blanket when the kids eat their snacks on it so I can just shake it out afterward.
2. To operate something in order to gauge its functionality or identify issues. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shake" and "out." I know he's eager to shake out the car after putting in the new engine. It is far more effective to let a team of QA testers shake the prototypes out. They'll always be able to find problems you would never notice on your own.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
shake something out
1. Lit. to clean something of dirt or crumbs by shaking. Please shake the tablecloth out. Can you shake out your coat? It's really dusty.
2. and shake something down Fig. to test something to find out how it works or what the problems are. I need to spend some time driving my new car to shake it out. We need to shake down this car before I buy it.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.