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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And nothing must enrage him more than those who should tremble before Putin not only resisting but sticking out their tongue at him, led by a war leader who is a comedian. Thomas Geoghegan, The New Republic, 31 Aug. 2022 Their fingers, from excessive toil, are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Jim Millercommunity Voices Contributor, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 June 2022 The car keys began to tremble in her hand, so that unlocking the door became much harder. Joshua Ferris, The New Yorker, 30 May 2022 The jitters triggered by Bay—who, in earlier decades, would surely have made his mark at Warner Bros. animation, toiling on Looney Tunes—seem to tremble unceasingly, and intentionally, on the verge of the ridiculous. The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2022 His ballads tremble with blues specific to the American South. Danyel Smith, Los Angeles Times, 24 Feb. 2022 The genre’s best songs unfold like short stories, with opening lines that tremble with foreboding. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2022 The plot kicks in when Margaret attends a biotech conference, looks across the room and spots a man (Roth) whose presence makes her start to tremble and run from the building in a panic. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Jan. 2022 Tuesday seemed to tremble on the precipice of colder weather, with its official high in Washington at 54 degrees. Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For Graham’s voice here is that of the Republican elite, whom Trump delights in making tremble with his every derisive shout of RINO! Mark Danner, The New York Review of Books, 6 Jan. 2021 For those attuned to perceive it, the great weight of this knowledge comes to rest within a wordless contemplative space, making the heart tremble as readily as any sermon or hymn. Lee Billings, Scientific American, 12 July 2022 Gorski was a star in baseball and soccer in high school at Hamilton Southeastern, a kid with the kind of raw power that makes pitchers tremble and scouts drool. Wilson Moore, The Indianapolis Star, 28 June 2022 The force of his compulsions made the screen tremble. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 May 2022 The writer also steals from Singin’ in the Rain by having a glamorous blonde leading lady, Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock), whose harsh working-class accent makes her tremble at the arrival of talking pictures. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Apr. 2022 In the sky an airplane is on its side, turning east with its belly up, its engines whining, a rumble in its wake that is felt in the gut, an additional tremble in the limbs. Keith Ridgway, The Atlantic, 18 Apr. 2022 But there’s a tinge of uncertainty — a tremble of possible tension. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, 26 Dec. 2021 Her phrases swell, tremble and spill over into melismas, and her verses crest with two different peaks. Jon Pareles, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

3 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tremble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for tremble


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

More from Merriam-Webster on tremble

Nglish: Translation of tremble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tremble for Arabic Speakers


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