[ kwey-ver ]
/ ˈkweɪ vər /

verb (used without object)

to shake tremulously; quiver or tremble: He stood there quavering with fear.
to sound, speak, or sing tremulously: Her voice quavered a moment and then she regained control.
to perform trills in singing or on a musical instrument.

verb (used with object)

to utter, say, or sing with a quavering or tremulous voice.


Origin of quaver

1400–50; late Middle English quaveren (v.), blend of quake and waver1

Related forms

qua·ver·er, nounqua·ver·ing·ly, adverbqua·ver·y, qua·ver·ous, adjectiveun·qua·ver·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for quaver

British Dictionary definitions for quaver


/ (ˈkweɪvə) /


to say or sing (something) with a trembling voice
(intr) (esp of the voice) to quiver, tremble, or shake
(intr) rare to sing or play quavers or ornamental trills


music a note having the time value of an eighth of a semibreveUsual US and Canadian name: eighth note
a tremulous sound or note

Derived Forms

quaverer, nounquavering, adjectivequaveringly, adverbquavery, adjective

Word Origin for quaver

C15 (in the sense: to vibrate, quiver 1): from quaven to tremble, of Germanic origin; compare Low German quabbeln to tremble
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