tremble

1 of 2

verb

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

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
trembler noun

tremble

2 of 2

noun

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

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
Belal Khaled / Anadolu via Getty Images The ER was jammed with dozens of children, many still trembling in fear. Corky Siemaszko, NBC News, 8 Feb. 2024 While there were games, or moments, to point to as improvement since that time, the overall tenor of the season was not a strong baritone but rather a trembling treble that became impossible to ignore. Jim Owczarski, Journal Sentinel, 23 Jan. 2024 Saved Stories One July morning, at a cavernous soundstage on Sunset Boulevard, amplified sound effects boomed so loudly that the walls trembled. Dave Itzkoff, The Atlantic, 21 Dec. 2023 Flatt held on to her son’s arm and watched them, while her other hand trembled almost imperceptibly. Sarah Viren, New York Times, 5 Dec. 2023 Every surface trembled, electrified by her attention. Leslie Jamison, The New Yorker, 15 Jan. 2024 Ibrahim felt the apartment tremble, but like most people in a region known for its long history of dangerous quakes, the family hoped for the best. Safak Timur Emin Ozmen, New York Times, 4 Feb. 2024 Before the trembling boy can respond between teeth-chattering fits, the two fly out into the night. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 2 Feb. 2024 Heading to court On a November Monday, Lafayette walked into the San Francisco Superior Court building, his hands trembling. Calmatters, The Mercury News, 9 Jan. 2024
Noun
His booming voice put to rest rumors that age had brought a tremble to it. Mujib Mashal Jim Huylebroek, New York Times, 9 Nov. 2023 Rodrigo, an actress on a Disney’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, performed each lyric with an appropriate tremble, snicker, or sigh. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 8 Sep. 2023 As Etna fell silent, the scientists were surprised to see a series of very small trembles that seem to originate from the movement of fluids and gas underground. Maya Wei-Haas, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 June 2023 Other stations were too far away to listen in, so the tiny tremble had been presumed to be noise. Maya Wei-Haas, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 June 2023 The wait should make Cuban tremble. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 16 June 2021 Yet again, the buildings tremble and the cell signals fail. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, 10 Feb. 2023 Cut the square in half and the custard inside doesn’t so much gush as tremble. Los Angeles Times, 4 Feb. 2023 But at the time of her death, the reporter who had once made executives tremble had not published a scoop in nearly a decade. Jacob Bernstein, New York Times, 21 Jan. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tremble.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near tremble

Cite this Entry

“Tremble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tremble. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

tremble

1 of 2 verb
trem·​ble ˈtrem-bəl How to pronounce tremble (audio)
trembled; trembling -b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce tremble (audio)
1
: to shake uncontrollably (as with fear or cold) : shiver
2
: to move, sound, or happen as if shaken
the building trembled from the blast
my voice trembled
3
: to have strong fear or doubt
I tremble to think what might happen
trembler noun

tremble

2 of 2 noun
1
: a fit or spell of uncontrollable shaking or quivering
2
: a tremor or series of tremors

More from Merriam-Webster on tremble

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