Clean it up: Shakeout vs. shake out vs. shake-out

It’s time to clean up the confusion about these three words.

Shakeout is a noun that means either: 1) the shrinking of the number of businesses in an industry due to mergers, acquisitions and going out of business; or 2) an annual earthquake preparedness drill, as in Los Angeles will participate in The Great California ShakeOut during October.

Shake out is a verb that means cleaning by shaking, as in Please shake out the bed sheets; they’re full of cracker crumbs.

Shake-out is a misspelling of the above two words.