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shud·​der ˈshə-dər How to pronounce shudder (audio)
shuddered; shuddering ˈshə-d(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce shudder (audio)

intransitive verb

: to tremble convulsively : shiver, quiver


2 of 2


: an act of shuddering
shuddery adjective

Examples of shudder in a Sentence

Verb The old car shuddered to a halt. The house shuddered as a plane flew overhead. Noun a shudder ran through him as he stepped outside into the snow
Recent Examples on the Web
Kennison felt a shuddering thump, and instinctively tried to pull the car over to the side. Tom Hallman, oregonlive, 2 Sep. 2023 The ever-tumultuous world of US politics shuddered this week as former president Donald Trump was booked in Georgia over charges related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the state. Dhruv Mehrotra, WIRED, 26 Aug. 2023 Several of them are so honest about real people that Sternberg shudders at the thought of singing them in public. Jonathan Bernstein, Rolling Stone, 1 June 2023 So, the means of distribution for music, meaning tech, kind of shuddered. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 11 Aug. 2023 Locals are instead shuddering as the toll of the heat causes hospitals to fill up with the old and stricken, and televisions now routinely broadcast tips on staying cool. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, 29 July 2023 The plumeria shook in the trees, their yellow hearts playing peekaboo as the blossoms ducked and shuddered in the storm. Chloe Schama, Vogue, 7 Aug. 2023 That ability to harness some unknown force and hold it in her hands and her hips and her voice for a matter of hours seemed to shudder out of every bead and sequin. Rachel Tashjian, Washington Post, 24 May 2023 The real Oppenheimer may have never expressed remorse over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the movie never lets its Oppenheimer forget them, especially in one shuddering, blood-chilling sequence that transforms a public moment of triumph into an indictment. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 19 July 2023
The crash itself is a white-knuckle sequence in which every shudder of the aircraft is felt. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Sep. 2023 The locker searches, which one senior police official described as a once-in-a-decade occurrence, sent a shudder through the department’s ranks as rumors spread of an investigation that has put an unknown number of officers under scrutiny. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 24 Aug. 2023 Courtesy of Starz When news broke in December that Max (then HBO Max) had decided to effectively cancel Minx, a collective shudder went through Hollywood creatives. WIRED, 25 July 2023 Their collective shudder is noticeable, even over Zoom. Angelique Jackson, Variety, 22 Aug. 2023 To older generations, the mention of this 1980s-era concept might induce shudders. Grace Rasmus, WSJ, 2 June 2023 Chunky Garlic & Jalapeño Hot Sauce This hot sauce isn’t really about the *shudders* chunks. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, 28 June 2023 When sharing licks of ice cream with friends didn’t cause a shudder to go down your spine. oregonlive, 15 July 2023 The rattle of small arms, the whistle of artillery and mortar shells, the shudder of explosions all continued unabated. Arkansas Online, 7 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History



Middle English shoddren; akin to Old High German skutten to shake and perhaps to Lithuanian kutėti to shake up

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined above


1607, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shudder was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near shudder

Cite this Entry

“Shudder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
shud·​der ˈshəd-ər How to pronounce shudder (audio)
shuddered; shuddering -(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce shudder (audio)
: to tremble with fear or horror or from cold
shuddered just thinking about it
: shake entry 1 sense 1, quiver
the train slowed and shuddered to a halt


2 of 2 noun
: an act of shuddering : shiver
shuddery adjective

Medical Definition


intransitive verb
shud·​der ˈshəd-ər How to pronounce shudder (audio)
shuddered; shuddering
: to tremble convulsively : shiver
shudder noun

More from Merriam-Webster on shudder

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