Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A small, crudely built cabin; a shanty.
  • intransitive verb To live or dwell.
  • idiom (shack up) To live together and have sexual relations without being married.
  • idiom (shack up) To live, room, or stay at a place.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To rove about, as a stroller or beggar.
  • To go after, as a ball batted to a distance.
  • noun Grain fallen from the ear and eaten by hogs, etc., after harvest; also, fallen mast or acorns.
  • noun Liberty of winter pasturage.
  • noun 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.
  • noun [⟨ 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.
  • noun A strolling vagabond; a shiftless or worthless fellow; a tramp.
  • noun A seafaring catch of fish made up of hake, pollack, and other cheap varieties, especially those of the cod family.
  • noun 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.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb Prov. Eng. To shed or fall, as corn or grain at harvest.
  • transitive verb Prov. Eng. To feed in stubble, or upon waste corn.
  • transitive verb Prev.Eng. To wander as a vagabond or a tramp.
  • noun colloq. a small simple dwelling, usually having only one room and of flimsy construction; a hut; a shanty; a cabin.
  • noun Prov. Eng. The grain left after harvest or gleaning; also, nuts which have fallen to the ground.
  • noun Prov. Eng. Liberty of winter pasturage.
  • noun Prov. Eng. & Colloq. U.S. A shiftless fellow; a low, itinerant beggar; a vagabond; a tramp.
  • noun (Eng.Law) the right of persons occupying lands lying together in the same common field to turn out their cattle to range in it after harvest.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Probably back-formation from dialectal (chiefly southern United States) shackly, rickety, perhaps from English dialectal shackle, to litter, disorder, frequentative of shake.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Some authorities derive this word from Nahuatl xacalli ("adobe hut"), but other authorities consider this phonologically impossible and relate the word instead to ramshackle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Obsolete variant of shake. Compare Scots shag ("refuse of barley or oats").

Examples

Comments

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  • 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

  • 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

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

    January 18, 2009

  • June 28, 2009