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tremble

[trem-buh l]
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verb (used without object), trem·bled, trem·bling.
  1. to shake involuntarily with quick, short movements, as from fear, excitement, weakness, or cold; quake; quiver.
  2. to be troubled with fear or apprehension.
  3. (of things) to be affected with vibratory motion.
  4. to be tremulous, as light or sound: His voice trembled.
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noun
  1. the act of trembling.
  2. a state or fit of trembling.
  3. trembles, (used with a singular verb)
    1. Pathology.milk sickness.
    2. Veterinary Pathology.a toxic condition of cattle and sheep caused by the eating of white snakeroot and characterized by muscular tremors.
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Origin of tremble

1275–1325; Middle English trem(b)len (v.) < Old French trembler < Vulgar Latin *tremulāre, derivative of Latin tremulus tremulous
Related formstrem·bling·ly, adverbun·trem·bling, adjectiveun·trem·bling·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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1. shudder. See shake. 3. oscillate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for trembles

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I guess the trembles in my head must have got into my fingers when I did it.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • It is when the soul rises to "here and now" that he trembles.

    Parables of the Cross

    I. Lilias Trotter

  • See how she trembles, and you know, Claude, what we heard on Sunday at the catechising.

  • He trembles at the responsibility which he has incurred by engaging the feelings of another.

    The Young Duke

    Benjamin Disraeli

  • When I go near the rubbish with my duster he trembles like an aspen.

    White Lies

    Charles Reade


British Dictionary definitions for trembles

trembles

noun (functioning as singular)
  1. Also called: milk sickness a disease of cattle and sheep characterized by muscular incoordination and tremor, caused by ingestion of white snakeroot or rayless goldenrod
  2. a nontechnical name for Parkinson's disease
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tremble

verb (intr)
  1. to vibrate with short slight movements; quiver
  2. to shake involuntarily, as with cold or fear; shiver
  3. to experience fear or anxiety
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noun
  1. the act or an instance of trembling
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Derived Formstrembling, adjectivetremblingly, adverbtrembly, adjective

Word Origin

C14: from Old French trembler, from Medieval Latin tremulāre, from Latin tremulus quivering, from tremere to quake
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 trembles

tremble

v.

c.1300, "shake from fear, cold, etc.," from Old French trembler "tremble, fear" (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *tremulare (source of Italian tremolare, Spanish temblar), from Latin tremulus "trembling, tremulous," from tremere "to tremble, shiver, quake," from PIE *trem- "to tremble" (cf. Greek tremein "to shiver, tremble," Lithuanian trimu "to chase away," Old Church Slavonic treso "to shake," Gothic þramstei "grasshopper"). A native word for this was Old English bifian. Related: Trembled; trembling. The noun is recorded from c.1600.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper