Shook – What does “Shook” mean in British slang?

Before we get started I wanted to say a few words about the current global situation.
In desperate times we feel panicked and scared for many reasons. I want to thank everyone who is helping us during this crisis, especially doctors and nurses tirelessly working against this pandemic.

All we can do is wait, be kind to each other and most importantly stay inside.

It’s safe to say we are all shook. Shook S-H-O-O-K is a slang term that can be used as an adjective meaning shocked, surprised, or startled. The inner monologue for feeling shook is thinking:

  • Whoa, what just happened?

In formal English shook is the past participle of the verb to shake. To shake is to move backwards and forwards or up and down in quick, short movements, or to make something or someone do this. Many things can shake your body and your voice usually, because you are frightened or nervous. For example:

  • Her voice shook as she talked about the person who attacked her.

There is a perfect Idiom reflecting the word shook which you may all know as shaking like a leaf. If you say that someone is shaking like a leaf, you mean that their body is shaking a lot, for instance because they are very cold or frightened. If someone says I was shaking like a leaf before the test, it means they were very nervous.

My guess would be that S-H-O-O-K came from the old phrase “shook up” that was used in the 19th century. Shook up meant to be excited in those times and was revived in 1957 by Elvis Presley.

So in slang Shook describes feelings ranging from discombobulation and fear to rage and elation, kind of like “all shaken up.” We could use it like this:

  • How you feeling about the current social and economical climate?
  • To be honest Im shook.

That’s the end of our episode, remember to tune in for our next episode so see what new slang we have in store for you! You can find us on our website and from there you can see our transcript and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and many more apps. Or head over to our facebook page for updates and more slang!