Definition of Quaker in English:



  • A member of the Religious Society of Friends, a Christian movement founded by George Fox c.1650 and devoted to peaceful principles. Central to the Quakers' belief is the doctrine of the ‘Inner Light’, or sense of Christ's direct working in the soul. This has led them to reject both formal ministry and all set forms of worship.

    as modifier ‘a Quaker burial ground’
    • ‘The Quakers also rejected the use of you as a polite form of address, and preferred thou, which to them signalled intimacy and equality.’
    • ‘The lecture will examine the faith and beliefs of 17th century Quakers and their relevance to today's society.’
    • ‘In line with his Quaker beliefs he declared himself a conscientious objector so he could not be drafted into the military.’
    • ‘Indeed, he commended the Quakers, who rejected the sacraments, for their stress on God as Spirit.’
    • ‘This had the effect of excluding Quakers from certain public offices, most significantly those of magistrates and judges.’
    • ‘Eddington was not only a rising star in astronomy but a Quaker - a religious pacifist.’
    • ‘Some of these groups, including the Baptists, Quakers, and Mennonites, developed their own forms of worship.’
    • ‘The company, which has its origins in the Quaker movement, devised the fund after requests from customers.’
    • ‘The movement he founded came to be known as the Quakers, or more correctly, the Religious Society of Friends.’
    • ‘I particularly enjoy the Sunday silence at my Quakers meeting house, which gives me much restoration of spirit.’
    • ‘Their tendency to ‘quake’ with religious fervor led most to refer to Friends as Quakers.’
    • ‘He had a good sense of humour and practised the Quaker principles of simplicity and humility.’
    • ‘We have allies among the Quakers, the Mennonites, and the members of the United Church of Christ.’
    • ‘She wrote to the Society of Friends or Quakers in Dublin asking for relief and describing the appalling conditions of the times.’
    • ‘But at the same time, the Quakers were religious outlaws who emigrated to America.’
    • ‘A Quaker has appeared in court after refusing to pay part of his taxes, in case the money was used for military purposes.’
    • ‘It will not work to teach kids to be unaggressive because we do not have a society dominated by Quakers and pacifists.’
    • ‘Modern day Quakers will be leading tours around the building and the grounds and answering questions from visitors.’
    • ‘Despite the attempts to prevent unlawful conventicles, the Baptists, Quakers, and other radicals were not to be uprooted.’
    nonconformist, protestant, freethinker, recusant
    View synonyms


From quake + -er, perhaps alluding to George Fox's direction to his followers to ‘tremble at the name of the Lord’, or from fits supposedly experienced by worshippers when moved by the Spirit. Compare with shaker (sense 2).