adjective trem·u·lous \ ˈtrem-yə-ləs \
|Updated on: 19 Jun 2018

Definition of tremulous

1 : characterized by or affected with trembling or tremors
2 : affected with timidity : timorous
3 : such as is or might be caused by nervousness or shakiness
  • a tremulous smile
4 : exceedingly sensitive : easily shaken or disordered





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Examples of tremulous in a Sentence

  1. She opened the letter with tremulous hands.

  2. He spoke with a tremulous voice.

  3. In the novel, which Richards populated with cardboard cutouts of the famous scientists who frequented the laboratory, Leone Allison’s husband, Charles Allison, the laboratory director (Garret Hobart) was portrayed as a weak-kneed, tremulous nerd who married a woman many times out of his league. As Leone (Manette) confesses in the book, her husband was aware of her infidelities, but there was nothing he could really do to stop her … —“Chapter 6” P. 124, TUXEDO PARK, Jennet Conant, Simon & Schuster © 2002

  4. Whatever the number, Singleton should take heart in the cancellations. They reflect the most precious asset he acquired when he plunked down $200 million for the 142,467-daily-circulation Tribune: a readership with deep proprietary feelings about its local newspaper. If every paper could boast that kind of reader, the industry would not be in such a tremulous state. —"Editorials" P. 9, EDITOR & PUBLISHER Vol. 135 No. 29, August 12, 2002

  5. On one occasion, it must be said, she set before me a tremulous bowl of hot, bitter, puddinglike tofu scooped from what looked like a Vermont maple syrup bucket, which is probably what fooled me into believing it might taste good. —"The Hungry I" P. 258, Alan Richman, GQ Vol. 68 No. 11, November 1998

  6. And on the trunk of the tree he leaned against, a brown squirrel was clinging and watching him, and from behind a bush nearby a cock pheasant was delicately stretching his neck to peep out, and quite near him were two rabbits sitting up and sniffing with tremulous noses—and actually it appeared as if they were all drawing near to watch him and listen to the strange low little calls his pipe seemed to make. —“Chapter 10” P. 114, THE SECRET GARDEN, Frances Hodgson Burnett, HarperCollins Publishers (1911) 1998

  7. As Arrietty snuggled down under the bedclothes she felt, creeping up from her toes, a glow of happiness like a glow of warmth. She heard their voices rising and falling in the next room: Homily’s went on and on, measured and confident—there was, Arrietty felt, a kind of conviction behind it; it was the winning voice. Once she heard Pod get up and the scrape of a chair. “I don’t like it!” she heard him say. And she heard Homily whisper “Hush!” and there were tremulous footfalls on the floor above and the sudden clash of pans. —“Chapter Six” P. 52, THE BORROWERS, Mary Norton, Harcourt Inc. (1953) 1998

  8. Morning at Ocean Point: the shuffle of shoes on grass, the soft whir of a passing bicycle, the far-off clank of a bell buoy, the sea licking at the weedy shingle at low tide, the mingled distant mew of gulls. The moored boats look as though they were painted on the barely tremulous water. —“Great Drives” P. 87, Peter Garrison, CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER, September 1994

  9. The eve of the deadline was upon me. Once more I sat in the somber gloom of my study, dread growing within my bosom. “Muse,” I whispered, my voice tremulous, “Come, Muse.” O, the suspense with which I waited for her appearance! —“Dream Within a Dream” P. 21, Tess Thompson, MERLYN’S PEN Vol. VIII No. 4, April/May 1993

Recent Examples of tremulous from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tremulous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Are You Shaky on The Meaning of tremulous?

Do you suspect that tremulous must be closely related to tremble? If so, you're right. Both of those words derive from the Latin verb tremere, which means "to tremble." Some other English offspring of tremere are tremor, tremendous, temblor (another word for earthquake), and tremolo (a term that describes a vibrating and quavering musical effect that was particularly popular for electric guitars and organs in the 1970s).

Origin and Etymology of tremulous

Latin tremulus — more at tremble

TREMULOUS Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of tremulous for English Language Learners

  • : shaking slightly especially because of nervousness, weakness, or illness

  • : feeling or showing a lack of confidence or courage

TREMULOUS Defined for Kids


adjective trem·u·lous \ ˈtre-myə-ləs \

Definition of tremulous for Students

1 : marked by trembling or shaking
  • … quite near him were two rabbits sitting up and sniffing with tremulous noses …
  • —Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
2 : fearful 2, timid

Medical Dictionary


adjective trem·u·lous \ ˈtrem-yə-ləs \

medical Definition of tremulous

: characterized by or affected with trembling or tremors



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