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 ?
Whenever you spot a shaking head and a wistful gaze into a pint glass, you know Ken Bates has cropped up yet again.
Typically the maestro did little for most of the match, except produce the famous shaking head, hands on hips and disinterest.
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.
Let Go For Tonight is joyfully bombastic, Youth and Echo place you directly into a club on a Friday night before the epileptic ballad of Shaking Heads brings on the comedown.
I was met with a chorus of shaking heads from my redoubtable team.
Movements might be clapping, shaking heads, rolling eyes.
Those few words paint a vivid domestic picture of raised eyebrows and shaking heads.