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The single word would replace "pinching, fanning and shaking out", perhaps as:

He ________ the pages, and the note or the stamp or the pen fell out.

"Riffled" misses, imo, as it suggests the pages of a book, though the process of grasping a book by its binding and shaking... heck, I don't know a word for that either!

The word (i.e. ______) could be done with an untidy stack as long as one could pinch the stack sufficiently

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    What exactly about riffle suggests book? – Spagirl Nov 16 '18 at 20:28
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    I'm inclined to say there is no such word, or it's obscure/archaic. There are all sorts of verbs that you could do to a stack of papers: shake, riffle, jostle, bump, sort, upend, toss, knock, leaf, thumb, drop, flick, shuffle... The motion from any of those could cause an object sandwiched between them to fall out, but none of them (to my knowledge) have a meaning that includes purposely de-sandwiching said item. I've only ever seen in some sort of context: When Dirk jostled the papers on the edge of Roberta's desk, her bookmark fell to the floor. – miltonaut Nov 16 '18 at 23:52
  • @Spagirl Book or bound pad as each is already "pinched" at one end, and all the pages are already lined up. The motion I'm having difficulty naming with a single word, is visually analogous to using a flip-book to see hand-drawn animation. – William Hoffman Nov 17 '18 at 18:36
  • @miltonaut Dirk's "jostling" is accidental. The word I'm hoping to find is intentional. Even if Dirk later decides to find something using the thing that happened on Roberta's desk, he won't tell anyone he did it by jostling, imo. Several other also seem random, though "thumb" comes closer, imo, as it's intentional... – William Hoffman Nov 17 '18 at 18:47
  • @miltonaut Dirk's "jostling" is accidental. The word I'm hoping to find is for an intentional process. Even if Dirk later decides to find something using the thing that happened on Roberta's desk, he won't tell anyone he did it by jostling, imo. Several others also seem random, though "thumb" comes closer, imo, as it's intentional... The idea of it is fairly common: we take 11 pencils, and hold them upright on a surface, knowing immediately which are new, unsharpened. Seems to me there's a word for that kind of action too that may be appropriated for the papers problem presented. – William Hoffman Nov 17 '18 at 18:54
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When I started work in an office, I had to load paper into printers, and I had to unwrap and fan each stack of paper before loading it. I also tended an enveloping machine, and I had to shingle each stack of envelopes, as well as fanning the printed letters to be inserted. I agree with your reluctance about riffle, although I also don't agree that it applies to grasping a book by the spine and shaking. Merriam-Webster gives the meaning "to leaf by sliding a thumb along the edge of the leaves: riffle a stack of paper".

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  • Not only that but the Merriam Webster entry specifically includes (as definition 2.b of the verb definitions) the action of performing a riffle shuffle of a pack of playing cards by splitting the pack and riffling the two stacks until they are mixed. If a pack of playing cards were bound together they wouldn't be much used as playing cards. – BoldBen Nov 17 '18 at 22:16
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Fluttered

He fluttered the pages, and the note or the stamp or the pen fell out.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/flutter

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