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more than one can shake a stick at



Alternative formsEdit


Unknown. American English, in use since about 1800.[1]


more than one can shake a stick at (comparative form only)

  1. Occurring in abundance; of a large quantity; many.
    • 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, ch. 16:
      "[L]aziness, cousin, laziness,—which ruins more souls than you can shake a stick at."
    • 1883, Edward Payson Roe, His Sombre Rivals: A Story of the Civil War, ch. 39:
      "[H]e's laid out more 'Federates dan he can shake a stick at."
    • 1910, Jack London, Burning Daylight, ch. 16:
      "I've got more companies than you can shake a stick at. There's the Alameda & Contra Costa Land Syndicate, the Consolidated Street Railways, the Yerba Buena Ferry Company, the United Water Company, the Piedmont Realty Company, the Fairview and Portola Hotel Company, and half a dozen more that I've got to refer to a notebook to remember."
    • 2004 Aug. 15, Ben Stein, "For Sale: The Ultimate Status Symbol," New York Times, (retrieved 12 June 2014):
      There are more billionaires than you can shake a stick at.

Usage notesEdit

  • The modified noun is placed between more and than.



  1. ^ shake” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.