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 With Big Brother everywhere, Cubans are taught to tremble before authority and to keep nonconforming thoughts to themselves. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, 18 July 2021 On September 1, 1730, the island of Lanzarote began to tremble. Daniel Rolider; Text By Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 June 2021 His eyes got wide and his hands began to tremble and the hot coffee went all over the floor. New York Times, 15 June 2021 Missing are the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredim, a Hebrew term for those who tremble before God. New York Times, 6 June 2021 As the jeep curled down the mountain and into the village, his hands began to tremble. Lauren Groff, The New Yorker, 27 Apr. 2021 One leg started to tingle, and her hands would tremble while putting on eyeliner. New York Times, 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, 20 Mar. 2021 Those babies shake and tremble, sometimes having seizures. Emily Woodruff,, 2 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When electricity affords Gazans access to social media, grief and despair tremble alongside grim determination. Washington Post, 18 May 2021 And over there all our ideas of right and wrong tremble. Emanuela Barbiroglio, Forbes, 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, 1 Jan. 2021 Her voice is soft but substantial, and contains an airy tremble that sometimes resembles birdsong. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 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, 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,, 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, 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,, 19 May 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

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

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Last Updated

29 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tremble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 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

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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