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tremble

[trem-buhl]
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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

Related Words

quiverthrobwobbleshuddershiverfluttertotterpalpitateteeterjarquakerocktremorquaveroscillatejitter

Examples from the Web for tremble

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • If they tremble down the fine-skinned cheek, let us avert our gaze.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Humans are funniest when they weep and tremble before, like you say, 'the facts in the case.'

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • It squeaked under his weight, he felt the rungs bow and tremble.

  • Just then, up came my father, with a sternness in his looks that made me tremble.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • There are ghosts whom I tremble to meet, and cannot think of without a shudder.

    Other Tales and Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne


British Dictionary definitions for tremble

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 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