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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 trembling

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I received the deputation with a trembling and apprehensive heart.

  • Pale and trembling, I pointed to the horrible staircase by which we had come.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • When she held her in her arms pressed against her breast, she felt that she was trembling.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Monseigneur shook from trembling as he repeated severely the word, "Never!"

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • When she turned back to the fireplace her hands were trembling.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter


British Dictionary definitions for trembling

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 trembling

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