quaver

verb
qua·​ver | \ ˈkwā-vər How to pronounce quaver (audio) \
quavered; quavering\ ˈkwā-​və-​riŋ How to pronounce quaver (audio) , ˈkwāv-​riŋ \

Definition of quaver

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : tremble
2 : trill
3 : to utter sound in tremulous tones

quaver

noun

Definition of quaver (Entry 2 of 2)

3 : a tremulous sound

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from quaver

Verb

quaveringly adverb
quavery \ ˈkwā-​və-​rē How to pronounce quaver (audio) , ˈkwāv-​rē \ adjective

Synonyms for quaver

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of quaver in a Sentence

Verb Her voice quavered during the speech. He spoke in quavering tones. Noun There was a quaver in his voice.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Occasionally his voice quavered but mostly Affleck spoke earnestly and straightforwardly. Washington Post, 27 Feb. 2020 Most earthquakes, including those that quavered under southern California this week, stem from cracks in the earth’s crust, known as faults. Anya Van Wagtendonk, Vox, 4 July 2019 Cracked, punched, slathered, and slabbed, Zhang’s works are visceral embodiments of quavering humanity. Julia Couzens, sacbee, 4 May 2018 Prada clothing, meanwhile, looks backward and forward at the same time, quavering between retro and 21st-century originality. Brad Dunning, GQ, 28 Mar. 2018 Elizabeth Drumm, the head of the programme, made some introductory remarks, her voice quavering. The Economist, 7 Sep. 2017 Mrs. Obama said in a 25-minute speech here during which her voice at times quavered with emotion. Julie Hirschfeld Davis, New York Times, 13 Oct. 2016 Like O’Toole, David’s voice is quavering cut glass but his body seems ravaged by time and exposure. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, 23 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun From there, the song plays like an elegy for a persona that no longer fits, Rodrigo singing with a quaver over a steady but reluctant acoustic guitar. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, 21 May 2021 Chasen’s, Trader Vic’s, the damn Derby; the mere mention of even department stores like Bullock’s and the Broadway could bring a tear and a quaver. Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2021 There’s also something oddly comforting about the playful oh-well quaver of his voice. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 23 Oct. 2020 Hadreas’s voice quavers, sliding from a falsetto to a low, fifties croon. Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, 12 May 2020 Big Thief Big Thief’s main vocalist, Adrianne Lenker, has a voice that’s always a kind of biting quaver. Raisa Bruner, Time, 11 Oct. 2019 His tone and cadence take after the saccharine blather of the great Christian pitchmen of radio and TV, the hucksters who mastered the catch in the throat, the tremulous quaver and gulp, because as every pro knows that’s where the money is. Barton Swaim, WSJ, 27 Sep. 2018 Dudamel ripped through the beginning of the final movement at a Bernstein-esque speed, but reined in the final march, and between the insistent quavers and beats of the strict rhythm seemed to lie carefully compressed rage about to shake loose. Zoë Madonna, BostonGlobe.com, 26 Apr. 2018 Fish sings on that last number, trading her familiar bluesy shout for a delicate quaver that sounds more like Iris Dement than B.B. King. Noah Berlatsky, Chicago Reader, 18 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quaver.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of quaver

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for quaver

Verb

Middle English, frequentative of quaven to tremble

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About quaver

Time Traveler for quaver

Time Traveler

The first known use of quaver was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near quaver

quauk

quaver

quaw

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for quaver

Cite this Entry

“Quaver.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quaver. Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for quaver

quaver

verb

English Language Learners Definition of quaver

 (Entry 1 of 2)

of your voice : to produce sound in an unsteady way especially because you are afraid or nervous

quaver

noun

English Language Learners Definition of quaver (Entry 2 of 2)

: an unsteady sound in someone's voice that is caused by fear or other strong emotions

quaver

verb
qua·​ver | \ ˈkwā-vər How to pronounce quaver (audio) \
quavered; quavering

Kids Definition of quaver

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to sound in shaky or unsteady tones My voice quavered nervously.

quaver

noun

Kids Definition of quaver (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sound that trembles or is unsteady My voice was a little too loud and there was a distinct quaver in it …— Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved

More from Merriam-Webster on quaver

Nglish: Translation of quaver for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!