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

Synonyms for tremble

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of tremble in a Sentence

Verb 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. Noun with a tremble, she ventured out into the snow
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One leg started to tingle, and her hands would tremble while putting on eyeliner. New York Times, "They Had Mild Covid. Then Their Serious Symptoms Kicked In.," 23 Mar. 2021 Well, sales are booming, as the figure below shows, a rate of growth that should make oil companies tremble and lithium miners smile. Michael Lynch, Forbes, "The IEA Sees Peak Oil Demand! Yawn," 20 Mar. 2021 Those babies shake and tremble, sometimes having seizures. Emily Woodruff,, "No more baby cuddlers, pet visits at hospitals: 'We used to have volunteers to do that'," 2 Jan. 2021 But as Gdud raised his pistol his hand began to tremble. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "Dr. William Good, who battled Nazis in Poland, dies of COVID-19," 26 Dec. 2020 In the dome of her head, the mercury of all things was trying to tremble together. Patricia Lockwood, The New Yorker, "The Winged Thing," 23 Nov. 2020 In Ware’s tale, the characters — some workmates, others strangers — are summoned to a private retreat in the French Alps where avalanches tremble atop every surrounding mountain peak and the guests are picked off, one by one. Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post, "Ruth Ware’s ingenious ‘One by One’ pays homage to Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’," 7 Sep. 2020 After an emotional loss, Josh would pretend not to care, but his bottom lip would tremble. Catherine Cusick, Longreads, "25 Movies and the Magazine Stories That Inspired Them," 10 Aug. 2020 Unchecked, those feelings can lead to anxiety and depression as well as physical symptoms like headaches, shaking, trembling, racing thoughts, and sleep issues. The Healthyish Team, Bon Appétit, "5 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries Around News and Social Media," 1 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And over there all our ideas of right and wrong tremble. Emanuela Barbiroglio, Forbes, "French Birds, Spanish Cows, Danish Minks: The Fight For Animals’ Rights In Europe," 19 Mar. 2021 At the end, a timpani roll is muted to sound almost gonglike, with Ms. Koh’s violin a coppery tremble above it. New York Times, "Tyshawn Sorey: The Busiest Composer of the Bleakest Year," 1 Jan. 2021 Her voice is soft but substantial, and contains an airy tremble that sometimes resembles birdsong. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Adrianne Lenker’s Radical Honesty," 12 Oct. 2020 The leaves tremble, shedding the drops, which fall and join their countless comrades already percolating through the soil, toward the water table and thence to the mighty ocean. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Do you hear that? These are just a few of my favorite sounds.," 20 Sep. 2020 Some dogs will panic, pace, drool, and tremble upon hearing the first crack of thunder or pop from a firework. Cathy M. Rosenthal,, "Animals Matter: How to keep your dog and cat calm during 4th of July fireworks," 26 June 2020 One member of the organization fought off tears while discussing the fear -- and accompanying tremble -- that runs through when being pulled over. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff taking on activist role following George Floyd murder: ’Either you’re for equality or you’re not, there’s no neutral'," 9 June 2020 There’s something though, in this ceremony, that usually stays buried: the struggle of the parturient that accompanies the tremble of creation; the mother’s womb where poetry blooms, from shape to shape. Eliza Huber,, "Gucci’s Version Of A Quarantine Is Extremely Chic," 19 May 2020 Thus there may not be a simple way to decipher whether an early warning sign is an omen of a major, more destructive quake or a tiny tremble. Everyday Einstein Sabrina Stierwalt, Scientific American, "Can We Predict Earthquakes At All?," 15 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for tremble

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tremble

Last Updated

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tremble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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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