verb (used with or without object)

to shake with a slight but rapid motion; vibrate tremulously; tremble.


the act or state of quivering; a tremble or tremor.

Origin of quiver

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

Synonyms for quiver

1. quake, shudder, shiver. See shake. 2. shudder, shiver, shake.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for quivering

shaking, shivering, trembling, quavering, jittery, jumpy, shaky, tremulous

Examples from the Web for quivering

Contemporary Examples of quivering

Historical Examples of quivering

  • So he just sat there, quivering, bleeding, battered—but a conqueror.

    A Night Out

    Edward Peple

  • In her eagerness, it was as if the halo of joy that surrounded her were quivering.

  • "You don't mean that," she gasped in a quivering voice when at last she could speak.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • “He was that indeed,” she whispered softly, with quivering lips.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Evelyn spoke quickly and nervously, and with quivering lips.

British Dictionary definitions for quivering




(intr) to shake with a rapid tremulous movement; tremble


the state, process, or noise of shaking or trembling
Derived Formsquiverer, nounquivering, adjectivequiveringly, adverbquivery, adjective

Word Origin for quiver

C15: from obsolete cwiver quick, nimble; compare quaver




a case for arrows

Word Origin for quiver

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 quivering



"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