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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Their tremulous, tentative courtship leads to a disaster of a wedding night. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "Home theater: From ‘Brooklyn’ to ‘Little Women,’ settle in with Saoirse Ronan," 6 May 2020 There is a tonal ambiguity to the bumptious romantic pursuit that follows, a surprisingly tremulous and fragile air, which may be what dismayed critics who were expecting a more conventional drama. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "Revisiting “Moment by Moment,” Lily Tomlin and John Travolta’s Wrongly Despised 1978 Melodrama," 9 Sep. 2019 Youmans films his characters’ landscape with an eye that’s both rapturous and tremulous, frankly confrontational and tensely terrified. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream This Weekend: “Burning Cane”," 9 Nov. 2019 Hayward—a principal ballerina at the Royal Ballet, in London—brings a tremulous spontaneity and fragile wonder to the role of Victoria. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Cats” Could Have Been a Contender," 27 Dec. 2019 As the music shifted into passages of velvety richness and tremulous sonorities, Mr. Nézet-Séguin drew out Impressionist colorings and harmonic pungencies. New York Times, "Yannick Nézet-Séguin Leads a Revelatory ‘Turandot’," 4 Oct. 2019 His vocalizations match his acting, from an almost rock style at the start of Valjean’s journey to the tremulous sound of its conclusion. Matthew J. Palm,, "‘Les Miserables’: A beautiful message, beautifully told | Review," 23 Oct. 2019 The left side of the South Korean defense looked particularly tremulous, and the French plowed at it ruthlessly. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "France Revels as It Opens the World Cup With a Victory," 7 June 2019 The other council member is Fern, who is white and portrayed by Becca A. Lewis with a tremulous air that bespeaks the insecurity of a woman who lacks the economic means of other parents. Don Aucoin,, "A school teetering on the brink in ‘Greater Good’," 22 July 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of tremulous

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tremulous

Latin tremulus — more at tremble

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tremulous

Time Traveler for tremulous

Time Traveler

The first known use of tremulous was in 1611

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about tremulous

Statistics for tremulous

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tremulous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tremulous


How to pronounce tremulous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of tremulous

formal + literary
: 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on tremulous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tremulous

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tremulous

Spanish Central: Translation of tremulous

Nglish: Translation of tremulous for Spanish Speakers

Comments on tremulous

What made you want to look up tremulous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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