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Another word for extortion/blackmail, or the obtaining of a good or service through means of force, threats/intimidation, or abuse of power.
Shakedown by force, threats and intimidation:

The Mafia would usually give small business owners "the shakedown," in which if the owner did not pay protection money (or "tribute") to the Mafia Don, their store would mysteriously be firebombed by vandals (read: Mafia thugs) who presumably would have been deterred if the owner had opted to partake in the Mafia protection plan.

Shakedown by abuse of power:

City councils are notorious for shakedowns by abuse of power. Suppose you bought a house for an inflated price of $50000, before property values started declining. The state wants to build a highway, and decides that your house is in the way. You don't want to move, but they offer you $25000 to pack up and leave. If you don't leave, the council will employ the eminent domain laws, which will simply *force* you to leave and *force* you to accept a measly compensation of $15000 (fair market value) for your property. While such practice is actually legal, it's still a shakedown, because if you don't agree to their initial unreasonable demands, you're going to be even worse off as a consequence--just like debating whether you want to drown in your own piss, or someone else's.
by Siegfried Zaga May 28, 2005
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its what the cops do when they run up in your house without a search warrant, sometimes they arrest people sometimes they just wanna see if ya know anything
cops always harrasing me givin me the shakedown
by splankinberry August 11, 2003
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A shake down can be particullar to a geographic area. Basically, it is one party getting into the personal assets of another party without consent. Usually a shake down involves drugs, money, power, the law, knowledge, or any combination thereof.
I think (a party) might have something I want. We are going to do a shake down later and see.
by smittydb September 29, 2005
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Term used to describe the row in the lot where most of the action is taking place. The majority of the vendors, trading, narcotics, and people, usually congregated almost entirely at shakedown. The term itself most likely originated from the Grateful Dead song, "Shakedown Street". It can also be attributed to the first deffinition of this word, as seen on the Urban Dictionary, as it was also a popular place for UC's, cops, and dready fedy's.
Head #1: "Dude, where's shakedown at? I'm ready to schwill on some taddy's."

Head #2: "It's way over there by that old school bus, man."

Head #1: "Right on, you have any extra's?"
by L-Pie January 23, 2006
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Cops raiding yo' house, persons or car illegally to find drugs, cash money or guns. Also to extract info from the victim or jus' for the hell of it.
"The cops busted a shake down on Jimmy's weedhouse."
by Diego September 03, 2003
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One of my personal favorites! When we the guards decide we've had enough of one "homeboy's" shit and bust into his cell looking for contraband that may or may not be there. Somehow it always turns up!
they havin' a shake down in Big Daddy's cell. Boss Cain gonna be givin' it to em now!! He don't fool around!
by Boss February 29, 2004
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to break in a race car and make sure everything is working properly.
Kevin had to shake down his race car for the upcoming season.

Andrew is shaking his car down next weekend for the races.
by bemich April 29, 2010
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