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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

Example Sentences

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
All the units totally flooded, several windows blown out, and the building is shuddering from the wind. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, 24 May 2023 There was no dramatic change, no shuddering or twitching. Rebecca J. Lester, Scientific American, 16 May 2023 With every moment the cold seemed to grow more intense and her body shuddered uncontrollably between the coarse sheets. Lisa Wells, Harper’s Magazine , 15 Mar. 2023 Wall Street shuddered Tuesday after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that the central bank would keep interest rates higher if need be to fight inflation. Yuri Kageyama, ajc, 8 Mar. 2023 His eight-year administration has been marred by violent insecurity and a shuddering economy in Africa’s most populous country. Carlos Mureithi, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Feb. 2023 His head bounces inside the cockpit as a wheel shudders over a rumble strip. Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times, 13 May 2023 Around the winter holidays, Southwest's operations nearly shuddered to a complete (if temporary) halt as a winter storm and technological slip-ups conspired to cause a cascade of cancellations that ultimately led the airline to intentionally pause most of its flights for a few days. Zach Wichter, USA TODAY, 14 Mar. 2023 When news broke earlier this week that editors of three science-fiction magazines — Clarkesworld, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Asimov’s Science Fiction — said they had been overrun with short-story submissions written by AI chatbots, writers and creative artists shuddered. Jessica Geltstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2023
With its solid body and supple suspension, the small Bimmer can be hurled over even the most pockmarked roads without losing touch with the pavement or inciting a symphony of shakes and shudders. William Jeanes, Car and Driver, 28 Apr. 2023 Brezinski thinks back to closing Bengal Coast and shudders. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 14 Apr. 2023 Chase’s lines climbed and dipped, gaining altitude and thinning in the light before diving down into gnarly warbles and shudders. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 9 May 2023 Prices were on track for their biggest one-day advance since April last year, when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent a shudder through energy markets. Joe Wallace, WSJ, 3 Apr. 2023 The world of decentralized finance gave a collective shudder this weekend upon learning the Securities and Exchange Commission wants to amend a regulation that defines exchanges. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune Crypto, 17 Apr. 2023 An alarming surge in coronavirus cases in Europe and the U.S. is wiping out months of progress against the scourge on two continents, prompting new business restrictions, raising the threat of another round of large-scale lockdowns and sending a shudder through financial markets. Arkansas Online, 28 Oct. 2020 Marcie had said with a vehement shudder. Yiyun Li, The New Yorker, 16 Jan. 2023 The jury is still out [shudders to el cucuy]. Yolanda Machado,, 5 Apr. 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 3 Jun. 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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