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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Tries either side of the interval by Tondu's Stuart Hancock and Tim Green put daylight between the teams but an extended spell of pressure saw the Gwent team camped on the home line for long periods, crossing the line twice only to be denied by the shaking head of referee David Davies.
"Working with Peter Reid is great fun," he said, a sentence that will have every Sunderland fan shaking head in disbelief.
Whenever you spot a shaking head and a wistful gaze into a pint glass, you know Ken Bates has cropped up yet again.
He spent a week in intensive care in and was diagnosed as suffering "shaking head syndrome."
Typically the maestro did little for most of the match, except produce the famous shaking head, hands on hips and disinterest.
It was all shaking heads and frowns as Scott showed him a second yellow card - for sliding in on Jed Steer.
Instead, with the final whistle blown at 26-26, there were shaking heads and disappointment.
Photos showed a smiling Hyon shaking heads with a South Korean official upon arrival at the border.
TV stations broadcast live footage of Hyon's bus moving on Seoul's roads before arriving at the railway station, where hundreds of police officers were mobilized to maintain order.Photos showed a smiling Hyon shaking heads with a South Korean official upon arrival at the border.
But that too was a false dawn, with glum looks and shaking heads in the Mercedes garage as the reality of the situation emerged.
The extent of the achievement won't be fully appreciated for long after the cries of 'Don't Take Me Home' finally leave these French cities that have been enveloped in red, awash with smiles and shaking heads.
There's also been little of the crass diving (we're looking at you, Arjen Robben) that had spectators holding their shaking heads in their hands at past events.
Mullins' ante-post control of day one with Min, Douvan, Faugheen and Annie Power set to go off at odds-on had resulted in shaking heads for reasons I cannot fathom.
Sporting a short blue dress with a revealing neckling and sassy white heels, she's shaking heads in shame already.
is week though, I will admit that even I was drawn into the small screen excitement which had our household shaking heads and punching the air in amazement and admiration.