quaking aspen



See under aspen(def 1).

Nearby words

  1. quakeress,
  2. quakerism,
  3. quakerly,
  4. quakers,
  5. quaking,
  6. quaking bog,
  7. quaking grass,
  8. quaky,
  9. quale,
  10. qualifiable

Origin of quaking aspen

First recorded in 1785–95


[as-puh n]


any of various poplars, as Populus tremula, of Europe, and P. tremuloides (quaking aspen) or P. alba (white aspen), of America, having soft wood and alternate ovate leaves that tremble in the slightest breeze.


of or relating to the aspen.
trembling or quivering, like the leaves of the aspen.

Origin of aspen

1350–1400; Middle English aspen (adj.), Old English æspen; cognate with Old Frisian espen (adj.), espenbeam, Middle Dutch espenboom, Old High German espîn (adj.). See asp2, -en2

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for quaking aspen

  • Suddenly I came upon a large, quaking-aspen tree set back in the woods by the side of the bog.

    Everyday Adventures|Samuel Scoville

British Dictionary definitions for quaking aspen



any of several trees of the salicaceous genus Populus, such as P. tremula of Europe, in which the leaves are attached to the stem by long flattened stalks so that they quiver in the windArchaic name: asp


archaic, mainly literary trembling

Word Origin for aspen

Old English æspe; see asp ²

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 quaking aspen



late 14c., from adjective or genitive form of Old English æspe "aspen tree, white poplar," from Proto-Germanic *aspo (cf. Old Norse ösp, Middle Dutch espe, Old High German aspa, German Espe), from PIE *apsa "aspen" (cf. Lithuanian opuse). The current form in English probably arose from phrases such as aspen leaf, aspen bark. Its leaves have been figurative of tremulousness and quaking since at least early 15c. (an Old English name for it was cwicbeam, literally "quick-tree").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper