trem·​ble | \ ˈtrem-bəl How to pronounce tremble (audio) \
trembled; trembling\ ˈtrem-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce trembling (audio) \

Definition of tremble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to shake involuntarily (as with fear or cold) : shiver
2 : to move, sound, pass, or come to pass as if shaken or tremulous the building trembled from the blast
3 : to be affected with great fear or anxiety trembled for the safety of her child



Definition of tremble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of trembling especially : a fit or spell of involuntary shaking or quivering
2 trembles plural in form but singular in construction : severe poisoning of livestock and especially cattle by a toxic alcohol present in a snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum) and rayless goldenrod that is characterized especially by muscular tremors, weakness, and constipation

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Other Words from tremble


trembler \ ˈtrem-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce trembler (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for tremble

Synonyms: Noun

quiver, shiver, shudder

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Examples of tremble in a Sentence


His arms and legs began to tremble. My voice trembled as I began to speak. I opened the letter with trembling hands. The house trembled as the big truck drove by.


with a tremble, she ventured out into the snow
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The largest carriers are still expected to report another year of multibillion-dollar profits — gone are the days when the industry would tremble when oil prices rose. Mary Schlangenstein,, "Airlines offer cheap fares even as the price of jet fuel surges," 22 May 2018 The ground seemed to tremble, the day draining of color and light. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Fungus," 4 June 2017 The largest carriers are still expected to report another year of multibillion dollar profits - gone are the days when the industry would tremble when oil prices rose. Mary Schlangenstein,, "Despite rising jet fuel costs, air fares steady," 21 May 2018 When Hennessey guns the 6.2-liter V-8, your clothes tremble from the shock waves of furious internal combustion. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Great American Tuner Shoot-Out," 3 Aug. 2016 Today the caldera is home to a regional park, towns, suburbs of Naples, and a cratered surface that occasionally trembles with earthquakes and sends belches of sulfurous gas into the air. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "An Italian volcano’s massive eruptions fit a pattern — and the cycle may have restarted," 14 Nov. 2018 By the time Beyoncé was announced as the September US Vogue cover star — photographed by (Teen Vogue alum) 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell, the first black photog to shoot a cover in US Vogue's 125-year history — my hands were trembling. Jessica Andrews, Teen Vogue, "Black Women on the September Covers Give Me Hope, But There’s Still More Work to Do," 20 Aug. 2018 The new rules also tackle the evolving technology used in making short videos, especially GIFs, the rapidly looping image clips; making national symbols or leaders appear to be trembling, for example, is prohibited. Yoko Kubota, WSJ, "No Foot Fetishes or Affairs: Chinese Censors Crack Down on Short Videos," 10 Jan. 2019 The crowd will roar with such passion that the Churchill Downs grandstand will tremble. Tim Layden,, "2018 Kentucky Derby: Horses and Human Runners Are Not so Different," 2 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Feel a tremble in your stomach, in your chest, in your fingertips. Shelly Oria, Longreads, "How to Be Single," 2 July 2018 The 28-year-old record for NCAA tournament 3-point shots, the 21 by Loyola Marymount in 1990 against Michigan, began a rare tremble. Chuck Culpepper,, "An efficiency of movement: Villanova's offense takes over," 1 Apr. 2018 The researchers have installed a complex network of sensors that monitor Mayon’s every tremble and burp and are using their vast amounts of knowledge garnered from past events to interpret the volcano’s every shiver. Maya Wei-haas, Smithsonian, "Geology Makes the Mayon Volcano Visually Spectacular—And Dangerously Explosive," 19 Jan. 2018 The 17-year-old says nothing, but his lower lip trembles. Washington Post, "The story must be told.," 3 Nov. 2017 For the yellow sun of its belly and the sugar-drunk bee that pulls us with it into this tremble of gold petals. Hartford Courant,, "Loss And Affirmation: The Poems Of Julia Morris Paul," 18 July 2017 There’s Lenny, the deliverer of that tectonic change, and there’s Sister Mary, a wily, possibly addled nun/mother figure played with fretful tremble by Diane Keaton. Richard Lawson,, "For a Troubled Nation, The Young Pope Hits Too Close for Comfort," 13 Jan. 2017 Sister Mary, a wily, possibly addled nun/mother figure played with fretful tremble by Diane Keaton.,, "The Young Pope," 13 Jan. 2017

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

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First Known Use of tremble


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tremble


Middle English, from Anglo-French trembler, from Medieval Latin tremulare, from Latin tremulus tremulous, from tremere to tremble; akin to Greek tremein to tremble

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Statistics for tremble

Last Updated

30 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for tremble

The first known use of tremble was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for tremble



English Language Learners Definition of tremble

: to shake slightly because you are afraid, nervous, excited, etc.
: to shake slightly because of some force
somewhat formal : to be afraid or nervous


trem·​ble | \ ˈtrem-bəl How to pronounce tremble (audio) \
trembled; trembling

Kids Definition of tremble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to shake without control (as from fear or cold) : shiver
2 : to move, sound, or happen as if shaken My voice trembled. Just at this moment Stuart … felt the whole ship tremble … with the force of the collision.— E. B. White, Stuart Little
3 : to have strong fear or doubt I tremble to think of what might happen.



Kids Definition of tremble (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or a period of shaking

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More from Merriam-Webster on tremble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tremble

Spanish Central: Translation of tremble

Nglish: Translation of tremble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tremble for Arabic Speakers

Comments on tremble

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