Etymology
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shake-down (n.)

also shakedown, 1730, "impromptu bed made upon loose straw," from the verbal phrase; see shake (v.) + down (adv.). The verbal phrase shake down is attested from late 14c. as "shake into place, compact by shaking" also "cause to totter and fall." The meaning "forced contribution" (1902) is from the verbal phrase in a slang sense of "blackmail, extort" (1872). Meaning "a thorough search" is from 1914; perhaps from the notion of measuring corn; the verbal sense of "to frisk or search" is by 1915 in police reporting.

updated on July 26, 2022

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