Definition of shudder in English:



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  • 1(of a person) tremble convulsively, typically as a result of fear or revulsion.

    ‘she still shuddered at the thought of him’
    ‘I shuddered with horror’
    • ‘I still shudder at the cost but I must admit it's worth a few months of strict economy to have a good roof over-head.’
    • ‘A few of the more starved prisoners shuddered with the sudden change in temperature for a while before growing accustomed to it.’
    • ‘His name was virtually unknown to the rest of society, but the horror stories that had been created by him made even grown men shudder to think about.’
    • ‘I've made some mistake that I still shudder to think about.’
    • ‘You may shudder to learn that the government has revised its hurricane forecast for the season that began June 1 for the worst.’
    • ‘Most people shudder at the thought of positive eugenics.’
    • ‘You may be wondering why anyone in their right mind would stay on talk to their friend until two in the morning, and you might shudder to think how long the phone bill will be next month.’
    • ‘His people shuddered when they came near him, for they feared his anger.’
    • ‘I'd shudder to think what the daily uniform would look like if they had one.’
    • ‘Many women who were once prostitutes shudder when they look back on their experience.’
    • ‘Second, the oh-so-vile taste of the beer - I still shudder at the memory from last night.’
    • ‘It's not like an experience where people shudder or run away from the camera when they see you.’
    • ‘Margaret shuddered at that thought, she didn't want to fight.’
    • ‘Doug stuck his tongue in her ear and Diana shuddered in revulsion.’
    • ‘I do shudder to think of how the teams such as the one described in this article would have reacted to such pressure.’
    • ‘I too shudder when I hear the writer of the ‘Lost in Space’ film is working on the sequels.’
    • ‘Sarah shuddered at her touch, feeling a little uncomfortable.’
    • ‘People shudder at the thought of them and turn away.’
    • ‘Each time he would shudder with fear and with sickness from the drugs, and he would swear to change.’
    • ‘In terms of our community and what we do and what it takes to get people in and off property, and I would shudder to think what it would take to do that in the middle of the night.’
    shake, shiver, tremble, quiver, quaver, vibrate, palpitate, flutter, quake, heave, convulse
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    1. 1.1 (especially of a vehicle, machine, or building) shake or vibrate deeply.
      ‘the train shuddered and edged forward’
      • ‘A cannon ball struck the wall of the fortress and the building shuddered underneath us.’
      • ‘A rogue wave breaks over the coach-house roof, and the boat shudders in protest.’
      • ‘Trinity's office tower shuddered and dust began to penetrate the building down elevator shafts from the top.’
      • ‘Next afternoon a squall out of the southeast is kicking up and our tent shudders against the strong gusts.’
      • ‘The aircraft shuddering and its reduced controllability severely compounded the difficulty of the instrument flight.’
      • ‘I also noticed some body flex due to loss of structural rigidity with the whole car shuddering over potholes in the roads.’
      • ‘The explosions began around 2: 30 am and came in rapid succession, seconds apart, making buildings shudder.’
      • ‘The car eventually shuddered to a halt on its roof.’
      • ‘As he was about to reach my friend, the freight train roared and the house shuddered and howled, but the old man never knew it.’
      • ‘The aircraft shuddered to a stop and began a rapid rollback.’
      • ‘The engine kicked over and the van shuddered as it pulled forward and out to the street.’
      • ‘Suddenly, there was a loud blast and the house shuddered momentarily.’
      • ‘Nearing 4,000m, my ears pop again, before the car shudders to a stop, and another fleece-covered assistant lets us out.’
      • ‘She pressed down on a button and the ship shuddered as the main engine sprung to life.’
      • ‘Every time the driver changed gears, the bus shuddered, stalled and rolled backwards.’
      • ‘The entire ship shudders from the massive shock and the power blinks off for a minute then flickers back on.’
      • ‘Then suddenly there was a loud, disconcerting sound, and the building shuddered slightly.’
      • ‘The carriage shuddered and began to roll forward, clattering over the cobblestones.’
      • ‘The elevator shuddered to a stop as all the lights went out.’
      • ‘The airship pitched suddenly diving forward and then back as the aircraft shuddered in a sick whine.’
    2. 1.2usually as adjective shuddering (of a person's breathing) be unsteady, especially as a result of emotional disturbance.
      ‘he drew a deep, shuddering breath’
      • ‘Drawing in a deep, shuddering breath, he brushed away his tears and tried to shake the cold, bitter feeling that had settled within him.’
      • ‘Jake awoke instantly, shuddering and gasping for breath.’
      • ‘She pulled away from my grasp and leaned against the nearest tree, shuddering and gasping for breath as she sobbed into her hands.’
      • ‘She drew a deep, shuddering breath and let it out with a shaky sigh.’
      • ‘She breathed in and out in long shuddering breaths.’
      • ‘Mina took a deep, shuddering breath, and sobbed.’
      • ‘He took a deep breath, shuddering, and tried again.’
      • ‘Taking a deep, shuddering breath, she whispered, ‘It was horrifying.’’
      • ‘He slumped against the windows, taking a deep shuddering breath.’
      • ‘Nor's eyes widened with surprise and he let out a short, shuddering breath.’
      • ‘I closed my eyes, trying to calm myself down, trying to forget the horror of the nightmare, and took one deep shuddering breath.’
      • ‘I imagine if any proper Springsteen fans are reading they'll be shuddering at that.’
      • ‘The Welshman took a deep, shuddering breath, yet when he spoke his voice was steady.’
      • ‘He waits as Ian takes in a deep and shuddering breath then opens his eyes as commanded.’
      • ‘He drew a deep shuddering breath, cursing with every ounce of his soul the hallmark of the Elven race that gave him the memories of his parents' lives as they themselves had lived them.’
      • ‘Milo's coughing fit passed, and he lay back down on the bed, breathing deep, shuddering breaths.’
      • ‘She snapped, taking a deep, shuddering breath.’
      • ‘The tears spilled over and Faith turned away as she found herself racked by shuddering breaths.’
      • ‘I lifted up a hand to wipe them away as took a deep shuddering breath.’
      • ‘His emerald eyes opened again after he had taken a deep, shuddering breath, but he would not let his sight fall on the weapon in her grasp.’


  • An act of shuddering.

    ‘the elevator rose with a shudder’
    figurative ‘the pound's devaluation sent shudders through the market’
    • ‘At one point, a technician lifted his wounded leg to clean it, and the weakened tibia fractured with a sharp crack that sent shudders through the surgical staff.’
    • ‘But I think that first-degree murder verdict should send a shudder through the defendant.’
    • ‘Causing a shift in policy that's not based on real policy concerns but on public distastes and shudders should not be the aim of good journalism.’
    • ‘So, I gave a little shudder, and turned back to my tasks in hand, including a little watercolour painting.’
    • ‘When the lever is pulled, the body twists and shudders violently, cooks and sizzles obscenely, and emits horrible noises from the nose, mouth and anus.’
    • ‘Not from cold, not from pain, just from the nearness of him that sent shudders lightly through her body.’
    • ‘A tremor rose up inside me, somewhat like a shudder or shiver, but I wasn't cold or afraid.’
    • ‘His shudders slowed and his body gradually untensed.’
    • ‘A shudder passed through her body and all the colour drained from her face.’
    • ‘If Darwin could have seen the molecular complexity of the eye, his shudder might well have turned even colder.’
    • ‘A shudder went through her body, and she broke contact with him.’
    • ‘Leaning close to whisper in his ear I felt his body shudder.’
    • ‘When I was done, my body gave a shudder and slowly began to sink.’
    • ‘As he approached the spot he said he heard ‘a sort of a shudder and bump’.’
    • ‘She hurriedly climbed out, her body racked with shudders.’
    • ‘The word sends a shudder through the body of any veteran of the Second World War.’
    • ‘The shudder in Tsushiko's body movements told Chase of the prisoner's rising anxiety.’
    • ‘An involuntary shudder snaked through my body.’
    shake, shiver, tremor, tremble, trembling, quiver, quivering, quaver, start, vibration, palpitation, flutter, convulsion, spasm, twitch, jerk
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  • give someone the shudders

    • informal Cause someone to feel repugnance or fear.

      ‘this place gives me the shudders’
      ‘it gives me the shudders to hear you use words like that’
      • ‘I had heard her say things to people that gave me the shudders: ‘This is the worst book I've read in a year,’ or things like that.’
      • ‘Even the name gave Amy the shudders as she sat hunched up at the back of the cab, her suitcase in hand staring out at the scenery as it sailed by.’
      • ‘Twenty years later that image still gives me the shudders.’
      • ‘It gave him the shudders thinking about people changing like that.’
  • I shudder to think

    • Used to convey that something is too unpleasant to contemplate.

      ‘I shudder to think what might have happened if he hadn't woken you up’
      • ‘Where her sport would be without her I shudder to think.’
      • ‘I shudder to think what some of you must think about me.’
      • ‘Without her, I shudder to think what kind of mess I would have made of the evening.’
      • ‘I shudder to think how much the weapons must now weigh.’
      • ‘I shudder to think what nations around the world would think of such an analogy.’
      • ‘What he meant by adaptation, I shudder to think.’
      • ‘Left to my own devices, I shudder to think what the results would have been.’
      • ‘For my part, I shuddered to think of what Wickham would consider an accomplishment.’
      • ‘What would have happened had I not locked the doors I shudder to think.’
      • ‘I shudder to think of having any more anxiety attacks.’


Middle English (as a verb): from Middle Dutch schūderen, from a Germanic base meaning ‘shake’.