tremble [trem-buhl] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin verb (used without object), trem·bled, trem·bling.

  1. to shake involuntarily with quick, short movements, as from fear, excitement, weakness, or cold; quake; quiver.
  2. to be troubled with fear or apprehension.
  3. (of things) to be affected with vibratory motion.
  4. to be tremulous, as light or sound: His voice trembled.


  1. the act of trembling.
  2. a state or fit of trembling.
  3. trembles, (used with a singular verb)
    1. Pathology.milk sickness.
    2. Veterinary Pathology.a toxic condition of cattle and sheep caused by the eating of white snakeroot and characterized by muscular tremors.

Origin of tremble 1275–1325; Middle English trem(b)len (v.) Old French trembler Vulgar Latin *tremulāre, derivative of Latin tremulus tremulous Related formstrem·bling·ly, adverbun·trem·bling, adjectiveun·trem·bling·ly, adverbSynonyms for tremble 1. shudder. See shake. 3. oscillate. Related Words for trembles quiver, throb, wobble, shudder, shiver, flutter, totter, palpitate, teeter, jar, quake, rock, tremor, quaver, oscillate, jitter Examples from the Web for trembles Contemporary Examples of trembles

  • She looks sideways as the monster speaker booms and trembles and young men dance toward her.

    Liberia’s Child Prostitutes

    Clair MacDougall

    May 19, 2014

  • Curled into a fetal position on an outdoor, candle-lit matt in Costa Rica, the 18-year-old trembles in fear.

    Hallucinating Away a Heroin Addiction

    Abby Haglage

    May 4, 2014

  • Dench trembles whilst uttering the words, “out damned spots!”

    Shakespeare’s Movie Magic

    Marina Watts, Malcolm Jones

    April 24, 2014

  • Historical Examples of trembles

  • I guess the trembles in my head must have got into my fingers when I did it.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • It is when the soul rises to “here and now” that he trembles.

    Parables of the Cross

    I. Lilias Trotter

  • See how she trembles, and you know, Claude, what we heard on Sunday at the catechising.

    Golden Moments


  • He trembles at the responsibility which he has incurred by engaging the feelings of another.

    The Young Duke

    Benjamin Disraeli

  • When I go near the rubbish with my duster he trembles like an aspen.

    White Lies

    Charles Reade

  • British Dictionary definitions for trembles trembles noun (functioning as singular)

    1. Also called: milk sickness a disease of cattle and sheep characterized by muscular incoordination and tremor, caused by ingestion of white snakeroot or rayless goldenrod
    2. a nontechnical name for Parkinson’s disease

    tremble verb (intr)

    1. to vibrate with short slight movements; quiver
    2. to shake involuntarily, as with cold or fear; shiver
    3. to experience fear or anxiety


    1. the act or an instance of trembling

    Derived Formstrembling, adjectivetremblingly, adverbtrembly, adjectiveWord Origin for tremble C14: from Old French trembler, from Medieval Latin tremulāre, from Latin tremulus quivering, from tremere to quake Word Origin and History for trembles tremble v.

    c.1300, “shake from fear, cold, etc.,” from Old French trembler “tremble, fear” (11c.), from Vulgar Latin *tremulare (source of Italian tremolare, Spanish temblar), from Latin tremulus “trembling, tremulous,” from tremere “to tremble, shiver, quake,” from PIE *trem- “to tremble” (cf. Greek tremein “to shiver, tremble,” Lithuanian trimu “to chase away,” Old Church Slavonic treso “to shake,” Gothic þramstei “grasshopper”). A native word for this was Old English bifian. Related: Trembled; trembling. The noun is recorded from c.1600.

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