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

Example Sentences

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
When Samuel realized that FTX had suspended withdrawals on November 8, his hands began to tremble. Joel Khalili, WIRED, 11 Nov. 2022 Buildings must not tremble under the force of hurricane gales that are increasingly common in the area. Deborah Acosta, WSJ, 1 Nov. 2022 And nothing must enrage him more than those who should tremble before Putin not only resisting but sticking out their tongue at him, led by a war leader who is a comedian. Thomas Geoghegan, The New Republic, 31 Aug. 2022 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
Noun
And that’s the kind of name that should make some of his enemies tremble. Chris Smith, BGR, 1 Nov. 2022 For Graham’s voice here is that of the Republican elite, whom Trump delights in making tremble with his every derisive shout of RINO! Mark Danner, The New York Review of Books, 6 Jan. 2021 For those attuned to perceive it, the great weight of this knowledge comes to rest within a wordless contemplative space, making the heart tremble as readily as any sermon or hymn. Lee Billings, Scientific American, 12 July 2022 Gorski was a star in baseball and soccer in high school at Hamilton Southeastern, a kid with the kind of raw power that makes pitchers tremble and scouts drool. Wilson Moore, The Indianapolis Star, 28 June 2022 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 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.

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 29 Nov. 2022.

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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