trem·​u·​lous | \ ˈtrem-yə-ləs How to pronounce tremulous (audio) \

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

Other Words from tremulous

tremulously adverb
tremulousness noun

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).

Examples of tremulous in a Sentence

She opened the letter with tremulous hands. He spoke with a tremulous voice.
Recent Examples on the Web Ronnie Spector, whose hard-edged yet tremulous voice soared on the Ronettes’ girl-group hits of the early ‘60s, died on Wednesday of cancer. Chris Morris, Variety, 12 Jan. 2022 Willingham’s tremulous narrative voice might have some readers reaching for a calming agent, too, but her denouement is both surprising and plausible. Washington Post, 6 Jan. 2022 The continuing, tremulous nodding of her head registers as a direct consequence of having worked too hard and too long to be a reassuring wife. New York Times, 3 Aug. 2021 That’s a bold proposition, if not a funny one, and Driver’s singing, at once tremulous and lusty, is no less unabashed. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 As a Democrat who has managed to stay afloat in a sea of red, Manchin is an object of tremulous concern among fellow members of the Democratic caucus in the U.S. Senate, who deem him essential to their threadbare majority. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine, 20 July 2021 The wobbly lines twist into one another, and the contours are tremulous and awkward. Jason Farago, New York Times, 27 June 2021 Hypersensitive, shy and tremulous young Yves Saint Laurent must have suffered acutely upon first reaching Paris. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 4 June 2021 The feathery falsetto, the tremulous vibrato, the percussive gasps and whoops — the vocal style that would captivate the world in a few years’ time was drifting into earshot. Jody Rosen, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2021

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.

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First Known Use of tremulous

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tremulous

Latin tremulus — more at tremble

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Time Traveler for tremulous

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The first known use of tremulous was in 1611

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tremulous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for tremulous



English Language Learners Definition of tremulous

: shaking slightly especially because of nervousness, weakness, or illness
: feeling or showing a lack of confidence or courage


trem·​u·​lous | \ ˈtre-myə-ləs How to pronounce tremulous (audio) \

Kids Definition of tremulous

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


trem·​u·​lous | \ ˈtrem-yə-ləs How to pronounce tremulous (audio) \

Medical Definition of tremulous

: characterized by or affected with trembling or tremors

Other Words from tremulous

tremulousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on tremulous

Nglish: Translation of tremulous for Spanish Speakers


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