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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small, crudely built cabin; a shanty.
  • intransitive v. To live or dwell: farm hands shacking in bunkhouses.
  • idiom shack up Slang To sleep together or live in sexual intimacy without being married.
  • idiom shack up Slang To live, room, or stay at a place: I'm shacking up with my cousin till I find a place of my own.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A crude, roughly built hut or cabin.
  • n. Any unpleasant, poorly constructed or poorly furnished building.
  • v. To live in or with; to shack up.
  • n. Grain fallen to the ground and left after harvest.
  • n. Nuts which have fallen to the ground.
  • n. Freedom to pasturage in order to feed upon shack.
  • n. A shiftless fellow; a low, itinerant beggar; a vagabond; a tramp.
  • v. To shed or fall, as corn or grain at harvest.
  • v. To feed in stubble, or upon waste.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To shed or fall, as corn or grain at harvest.
  • transitive v. To feed in stubble, or upon waste corn.
  • transitive v. To wander as a vagabond or a tramp.
  • n. a small simple dwelling, usually having only one room and of flimsy construction; a hut; a shanty; a cabin.
  • n. The grain left after harvest or gleaning; also, nuts which have fallen to the ground.
  • n. Liberty of winter pasturage.
  • n. A shiftless fellow; a low, itinerant beggar; a vagabond; a tramp.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To be shed or fall, as corn at harvest.
  • To feed on stubble, or upon the waste corn of the field.
  • To hibernate, as an animal, especially the bear: also said of men who “lay up” or “hole up” for the winter, or go into winter quarters.
  • n. Grain fallen from the ear and eaten by hogs, etc., after harvest; also, fallen mast or acorns.
  • n. Liberty of winter pasturage.
  • n. In the fisheries, bait picked up at sea by any means, as the flesh of porpoises or of sea-birds, refuse fish, etc., as distinguished from the regular stock of bait carried by the vessel or otherwise depended upon. Also shack-bait.
  • n. [⟨ shack, verb, 3.] A very roughly built house or cabin, especially such a one as is put up for temporary occupation while securing a claim under the United States preëmption laws.
  • To rove about, as a stroller or beggar.
  • To go after, as a ball batted to a distance.
  • n. A strolling vagabond; a shiftless or worthless fellow; a tramp.
  • n. A seafaring catch of fish made up of hake, pollack, and other cheap varieties, especially those of the cod family.
  • n. The right of common pasturage; the straying of cattle into public or on inclosed land.
  • Relating to a catch of sea-fish of the cheaper varieties, or of shack-bait.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make one's home in a particular place or community
  • n. small crude shelter used as a dwelling
  • v. move, proceed, or walk draggingly or slowly


Possibly from American Spanish jacal, from Nahuatl xacalli, adobe hut : xámitl, adobe + calli, house, hut.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Some authorities derive this word from Nahuatl xacalli ("adobe hut"), but other authorities consider this phonologically impossible and relate the word instead to ramshackle.[2] (Wiktionary)
Obsolete variant of shake. Compare Scots shag ("refuse of barley or oats"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Good point; but it's a phrasal verb, so the up has to be included.

    January 18, 2009

  • To live with someone as a couple without the sanction of marriage is "to shack up" with that person. That at least is the first use of the verb "to shack" that comes to mind. The Weirdnet definitions are weird to me also.

    January 18, 2009

  • Is use as a verb common? I don't think I've ever heard it, so I've applied the WeirdNet tag.

    January 18, 2009