shake down

(redirected from shook them down)

shake down

1. verb To blackmail someone for money; to extort someone. A noun or pronoun is often used between "shake" and "down." The assistant has been shaking the governor down ever since he found out that she'd been taking bribes.
2. verb By extension, to ask, pressure, or force someone to pay a sum of money, often an exorbitant or unfair amount. A noun or pronoun is often used between "shake" and "down." I think it's criminal that the IRS gets to shake you down for so much of your hard-earned cash each year. Her private school offers the best education in the state, but they don't hesitate to shake us down for the privilege. Before you know it, the kids will be driving their own cars and shaking you down for money on the weekends.
3. verb To become acclimated, organized, or established (in something or some place new). So, how's your first week in the office been? You shaking down all right? It took us a few weeks to shake down after the move, but we're feeling right at home now.
4. verb To search someone or something thoroughly, especially for weaponry or prohibited substances. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "shake" and "down." The bouncer is shaking down everyone to make sure no one smuggles booze or drugs into the concert. The officer shook me down even though I told him I didn't have a gun on me.
5. noun An instance of blackmail for money or extorsion. As a noun, the phrase is usually written as one word. The FBI captured the shakedown on video and was able to use it at the trial.
6. noun By extension, an instance of asking, pressuring, or forcing someone to pay a sum of money, often an exorbitant or unfair amount. As a noun, the phrase is usually written as one word. It's time for the annual shakedown by the IRS again. Every time I turn around, there's another shakedown at the office for some charity or fundraiser or whatever.
See also: down, shake

shake someone down

 
1. to blackmail someone. (Underworld.) Fred was trying to shake Jane down, but she got the cops in on it. The police chief was trying to shake down just about everybody in town.
2. to put pressure on someone to lend one money. We tried to shake down Max for a few hundred, but no deal. If you're trying to shake me down, forget it. I have no cash.
See also: down, shake

shake down

1. Extort money from, as in They had quite a racket, shaking down merchants for so-called protection. [Slang; second half of 1800s]
2. Make a thorough search of, as in They shook down all the passengers, looking for drugs. [Slang early 1900s]
3. Subject a new vehicle or machine to a tryout, as in We'll shake down the new model next week.
4. Become acclimated or accustomed, to a new place, job, or the like, as in Is this your first job? You'll soon shake down. [Mid-1800s]
See also: down, shake

shake down

v.
1. To extort money from someone: The mob regularly sends thugs to shake down local businesses. The blackmailer shook us down for $1000.
2. To make a thorough search of someone or something: The guards shook down the prisoners' cells for hidden weapons. The airport security guards shook me down.
3. To become acclimated or accustomed, as to a new environment or a new job: We gave the new hire a few weeks to shake down before assigning her to a project.
See also: down, shake

shake someone down

1. tv. to blackmail someone. (Underworld.) The police chief was trying to shake down just about everybody in town.
2. tv. to put pressure on someone to lend one money. We tried to shake them down for a few hundred, but no deal.
See also: down, shake, someone

shakedown

n. an act of extortion. (Underworld.) Mary was giving Bruno the shakedown, so he tried to put her out of the way.
References in classic literature ?
A SHEPHERD driving his Sheep to a wood, saw an oak of unusual size full of acorns, and spreading his cloak under the branches, he climbed up into the tree and shook them down. The Sheep eating the acorns inadvertently frayed and tore the cloak.
As if that was not enough, the Crown Prince rounded up scores of his royal cousins who he locked up in a hotel, and then shook them down for billions of dollars on flimsy accusations.
But the under-fire boss has picked them up, shook them down and changed the formation to easily over-power an admittedly poor San Marino side.
However, in six golden minutes, skipper Steven Gerrard hauled Liverpool up out of the mud, shook them down, and demanded a suicidal charge which, unbelievably, succeeded.
Methods of hunting in the South were described in Robert Beverley's The History and Present State of Virginia: Horses were taught to walk quietly at their master's side when stalking game to keep him out of sight; rabbits were hunted with fast mongrel dogs, which caught them or forced them into a hollow tree; raccoons and opossums, hunted on foot with small dogs by the light of the moon, were treed, and agile lads climbed trees after them and shook them down; wolves were trapped; turkeys were shot or trapped.