quaver

1 of 2

verb

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

intransitive verb

1
2
: trill
3
: to utter sound in tremulous tones
quaveringly adverb
quavery
ˈkwā-və-rē How to pronounce quaver (audio)
ˈkwāv-rē
adjective

quaver

2 of 2

noun

1
2
3
: a tremulous sound

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
Johnson read from the Book of James, 2:14, her voice quavering a bit before the crowd. Petula Dvorak, Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2023 Her voice quavered recalling women who killed themselves after G.I.s who had taken them as common-law wives subsequently abandoned them and their children. Choe Sang-Hun Jean Chung, New York Times, 2 May 2023 Staticky street sounds from Shuliavka, a neighborhood that endured artillery strikes in the war’s first hours, commingle with quavering loops of electronic vibrations. Jason Farago, New York Times, 21 Mar. 2023 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
Noun
That turn is recreated practically note for note here, and Abela gets every hip swing and jaw quaver right, wearing an exact copy of the Dolce & Gabbana dress Winehouse wore. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Apr. 2024 There was the troubadour John Brannen, who possessed a rootsy sound and a quaver that channeled Roy Orbison’s. Brad Shoup, The Atlantic, 8 Feb. 2024 As Booth introduces more aspects of Kenneth’s past, his voice takes on an affecting quaver. Vulture, 26 May 2023 At 2,000-8,000 Scovilles, the gentle jalapeño quavers before some of the peppers sought by sadomasochistic eaters. M. Carrie Allan, Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2023 Brimming with the richness of its foundational roux, there’s a quaver of smoke from the coins of browned andouille sausage. Jenn Harriscolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2022 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quaver.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, frequentative of quaven to tremble

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near quaver

Cite this Entry

“Quaver.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quaver. Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

quaver

1 of 2 verb
qua·​ver ˈkwā-vər How to pronounce quaver (audio)
quavered; quavering ˈkwāv-(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce quaver (audio)
1
2
: to utter sound in trembling unsteady tones
a voice that quavered
3
: to say or sing with a quavering voice
quaveringly
ˈkwāv-(ə-)riŋ-lē
adverb
quavery adjective

quaver

2 of 2 noun
1
2
: a trembling sound

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