- See under aspen(def 1).
- any of various poplars, as Populus tremula, of Europe, and P. tremuloides (quaking aspen) or P. alba (white aspen), of America, having soft wood and alternate ovate leaves that tremble in the slightest breeze.
- of or relating to the aspen.
- trembling or quivering, like the leaves of the aspen.
Origin of aspen
- any of several trees of the salicaceous genus Populus, such as P. tremula of Europe, in which the leaves are attached to the stem by long flattened stalks so that they quiver in the windArchaic name: asp
- archaic, mainly literary trembling
Word Origin and History for white aspen
late 14c., from adjective or genitive form of Old English æspe "aspen tree, white poplar," from Proto-Germanic *aspo (cf. Old Norse ösp, Middle Dutch espe, Old High German aspa, German Espe), from PIE *apsa "aspen" (cf. Lithuanian opuse). The current form in English probably arose from phrases such as aspen leaf, aspen bark. Its leaves have been figurative of tremulousness and quaking since at least early 15c. (an Old English name for it was cwicbeam, literally "quick-tree").