[trem-er, tree-mer]


involuntary shaking of the body or limbs, as from disease, fear, weakness, or excitement; a fit of trembling.
any tremulous or vibratory movement; vibration: tremors following an earthquake.
a trembling or quivering effect, as of light.
a quavering sound, as of the voice.

Origin of tremor

1325–75; Middle English < Latin: a trembling, equivalent to trem(ere) to tremble + -or -or1
Related formstrem·or·ous, adjective

Synonyms for tremor Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tremor

Contemporary Examples of tremor

Historical Examples of tremor

  • The bridge was tremulous beneath me, and marked the tremor of the solid earth.

    Other Tales and Sketches

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • With great difficulty and tremor they succeeded in forcing the door.

    Browne's Folly

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • A second time she interrupted herself in the tremor of the words she pronounced.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • There was a tremor of laughter in her voice, but her eyes were grave and earnest.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • But Page perceived the tremor of battle that ran through her.

    The Coryston Family

    Mrs. Humphry Ward

British Dictionary definitions for tremor



an involuntary shudder or vibration, as from illness, fear, shock, etc
any trembling or quivering movement
a vibrating or trembling effect, as of sound or light
Also called: earth tremor a minor earthquake


(intr) to tremble
Derived Formstremorless, adjectivetremorous, adjective

Word Origin for tremor

C14: from Latin: a shaking, from tremere to tremble, 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 tremor

late 14c., "terror," from Old French tremor "fear, terror" (13c.), from Latin tremorem (nominative tremor) "a trembling, terror," from tremere (see tremble). Sense of "an involuntary shaking" first recorded 1610s and probably represents a re-introduction from Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tremor in Medicine




An involuntary trembling movement.
Minute ocular movement occurring during fixation on an object.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

tremor in Science



A relatively minor seismic shaking or vibrating movement. Tremors often precede larger earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.
An involuntary shaking or trembling of the head or extremities that can be idiopathic or associated with any of various medical conditions, such as Parkinson's disease.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.