wooden shakes on the roof

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CKM367

Senior Member
Russian
In 'Saxon: Book of Dreams' by Tim Severin, there is such a fragnemt:

Hroudland’s great hall recalled my memories of my father’s house, the home I had grown up in, except that it was much, much larger and intended to impress the visitor. The ridge of its enormous roof stood two-storeys high. The roof itself was covered with thousands upon thousands of wooden shakes and sloped down to side walls of heavy planks set upright and closely fitted.

Could you explain what those shakes were? I found in Merriam-Webser: shake - a fissure separating annual rings of growth in timber. However, why was the roof covered with shakes, what might that mean?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It means nothing to me, and I would have guessed it was a typo for something else, but it turns out 'shake' is a dialectal word for the more standard 'shingle', a piece of wood shaped for use as a roof tile.
     
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    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    The usage is very familiar to me. I'm surprised that it's indicated as "dialectical." I'd guess most AE speakers would be familiar with it, at least in context.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    The usage is very familiar to me. I'm surprised that it's indicated as "dialectical." I'd guess most AE speakers would be familiar with it, at least in context.
    I agree. Though shakes are very rare now - perhaps the dialect they had in mind was "old people's" speech. :)
     

    stez

    Senior Member
    english - australia
    The defining characteristic of shakes is that they are split and not sawn. They have nothing at all to do with slate.
     

    tehtmc

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Slates are split from natural stones or graphite and are used as roof shingles.
    It is used as a covering material for floor/wall/roof.
    Shingles are the scaly covering on roofs.
    Shakes are shingles that are made from wood?
     
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