shake (one's) head

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shake (one's) head

1. Literally, to rotate one's head back and forth (to the left and to the right) to indicate a negative response, disagreement, or disapproval. When I asked the little girl if she knew where her mommy was, she just shook her head. I see you back there shaking your head no. Is there something you disagree with?
2. To express confusion or bewilderment about something that has just happened or been revealed. This usage does not always indicate a literal movement of the head. When he abruptly exited the meeting without explanation, we all just sat there shaking our heads. Just shaking my head right now. What was that all about?
See also: head, shake
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

shake one's head

Express disapproval, dissent, or doubt, as in That announcement had us shaking our heads in dismay. This expression, which can be used both literally (for moving one's head from side to side) and figuratively, dates from about 1300.
See also: head, shake
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.

shake your ˈhead

move your head from side to side as a way of saying ‘no’, or to show sadness, disagreement, disapproval, etc: She didn’t say anything — she just shook her head and sighed.
See also: head, shake
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Tories won't give him any credit for this stuff, and Labour folk will just shake their heads in disbelief.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, office workers shake their heads in disbelief, and put the kettle on.
The authors know how to write respectfully, but still zestfully, about events that will enthrall YAs and still make old-timers shake their heads. Raymond Puffer, Ph.D., Historian, Edwards AFB, Lancaster, CA
Movies about the triumph of misfits and mutants and aliens are enormously popular, and their fan base includes the very people who shake their heads at local news reports about vocal LGBT activists or pro-immigration demonstrations.
No wonder the police can only shake their heads at our crazy laws.
You know?" And then my friends would probably look at me and just kind of shake their heads in disappointment and walk away.
My three children shake their heads in a mixture of shame and amazement while sitting in the back seat of the Benz while I drive it around town.
Others might shake their heads and wonder at the influence of owner Rupert Murdoch.
My friends shake their heads sadly, They say, ``there's not much hope''.
Not all of the tactics will make readers shake their heads in disappointment or disbelief.
And then they shake their heads and say: "It's a miracle."
Veterinarians may at last have found the cause of a mysterious and sometimes fatal disorder that turns big birds into fuddled wrecks with an odd stance, a goofy walk, and a tendency to shake their heads.
My sons look at me sadly shake their heads. They say, their voices soothing but their words saddened with realism, "Mom, it's doomed.
Teachers and graying military veterans alike can only shake their heads at students to whom Gettysburg, Gallipoli and Guadalcanal all fuse into the same amorphous mass.