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



Definition of quaver (Entry 2 of 2)

3 : a tremulous sound

Other Words from quaver


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

Synonyms for quaver

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
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 Recently, the mayor has had a tickle in her throat that sometimes swells to a quaver in her voice, cutting her off prematurely in conversations and news conferences. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 15 Jan. 2022 There was a quaver in his voice, which defined the depth of his emotion. Katie Hafner, Scientific American, 23 Dec. 2021 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 See More

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.

First Known Use of quaver


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


1533, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for quaver


Middle English, frequentative of quaven to tremble

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

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Cite this Entry

“Quaver.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quaver. Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for quaver


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.



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

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