1 The name given to a longitudinal crack in a mast or spar.
2 The staves of a cask after the cask has been taken to pieces; thus ‘no great shakes’ means something of little value.
3 The shivers of a sail when a sailing vessel is steered too close to the wind. It is a meaning which has given rise to the expression ‘a brace of shakes’ as very quickly or immediately, literally the time in which a sail shivers twice when too close to the wind.
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