NO GREAT SHAKES
Another bizarre and baffling phrase. It really doesn’t make sense. Unless you know that ‘shakes’ were the staves and hoops of a barrel, which on their own are worthless. With storage space so limited aboard old ships, once a barrel was empty it was ‘shaken’, meaning dismantled so it took up less room. The pile of staves and hoops that built up during a voyage were referred to as ‘the great shakes’.