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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to shake with a slight but rapid motion; vibrate tremulously; tremble.
  1. the act or state of quivering; a tremble or tremor.

Origin of quiver1

1480–90; origin uncertain; compare Middle Dutch quiveren to tremble
Related formsquiv·er·er, nounquiv·er·ing·ly, adverbquiv·er·y, adjectiveun·quiv·ered, adjectiveun·quiv·er·ing, adjective


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1. quake, shudder, shiver. See shake. 2. shudder, shiver, shake.


  1. a case for holding or carrying arrows.
  2. the arrows in such a case.

Origin of quiver2

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French quiveir, variant of Old French quivre; perhaps < Germanic; compare Old English cocer quiver
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for quiver

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It was a beautiful cameo of Alcibiades, with the quiver and bow of Eros.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • She worked as if for dear life, but every quiver of her back told that she was listening.

  • Not a sound disturbed the oppressive quiet, not the quiver of a twig.

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

  • He was erect, pale and handsome, and his words came without a quiver.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • There must have been a dimness in his eyes and a quiver to his wide-lipped, generous mouth.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

British Dictionary definitions for quiver


  1. (intr) to shake with a rapid tremulous movement; tremble
  1. the state, process, or noise of shaking or trembling
Derived Formsquiverer, nounquivering, adjectivequiveringly, adverbquivery, adjective

Word Origin

C15: from obsolete cwiver quick, nimble; compare quaver


  1. a case for arrows

Word Origin

C13: from Old French cuivre; related to Old English cocer, Old Saxon kokari, Old High German kohhari, Medieval Latin cucurum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for quiver


"to tremble," late 15c., perhaps imitative, or possibly an alteration of quaveren (see quaver), or from Old English cwifer- (in cwiferlice "zealously"), which is perhaps related to cwic "alive" (see quick). Related: Quivered; quivering. As a noun in this sense from 1715, from the verb.


"case for holding arrows," early 14c., from Anglo-French quiveir, Old French quivre, cuivre, probably of Germanic origin, from Proto-Germanic *kukur "container" (cf. Old High German kohhari, German Köcher, Old Saxon kokar, Old Frisian koker, Old English cocur "quiver"); "said to be from the language of the Huns" [Barnhart]. Related: Quiverful.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper