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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 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 Spasmodic dysphonia can keep a person from speaking easily, causing the voice to break or sound choked, to feel too tight, to tremble. Hector Saldana, San Antonio Express-News, 20 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Over time, many small infatuations rippled the surface of her mind, like the spring breeze that makes new leaves tremble without changing their life’s course. Tove Ditlevsen, The New Yorker, 18 Oct. 2021 His three grown sons tremble and grovel in his presence, none more than his youngest son, Joji (Fahadh Faasil), who seems to be around thirty and is bitterly frustrated—including with himself. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 1 June 2021 When electricity affords Gazans access to social media, grief and despair tremble alongside grim determination. Washington Post, 18 May 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

Learn More About tremble

Time Traveler for tremble

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near tremble




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for tremble

Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tremble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!