1. Slang Extortion of money, as by blackmail.
2. Slang A thorough search of a place or person.
3. A test or period of appraisal followed by adjustments to improve efficiency or functioning.
Serving as a test of a new product or model, especially of a vehicle, ship, or aircraft: a shakedown cruise; a shakedown flight.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.