Definition of shudder in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘Second, the oh-so-vile taste of the beer - I still shudder at the memory from last night.’
    • ‘A few of the more starved prisoners shuddered with the sudden change in temperature for a while before growing accustomed to it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His people shuddered when they came near him, for they feared his anger.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘People shudder at the thought of them and turn away.’
    • ‘Sarah shuddered at her touch, feeling a little uncomfortable.’
    • ‘Margaret shuddered at that thought, she didn't want to fight.’
    • ‘Many women who were once prostitutes shudder when they look back on their experience.’
    • ‘I'd shudder to think what the daily uniform would look like if they had one.’
    • ‘Doug stuck his tongue in her ear and Diana shuddered in revulsion.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You may shudder to learn that the government has revised its hurricane forecast for the season that began June 1 for the worst.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each time he would shudder with fear and with sickness from the drugs, and he would swear to change.’
    • ‘I've made some mistake that I still shudder to think about.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Most people shudder at the thought of positive eugenics.’
    • ‘It's not like an experience where people shudder or run away from the camera when they see you.’
    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’
      • ‘The entire ship shudders from the massive shock and the power blinks off for a minute then flickers back on.’
      • ‘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 elevator shuddered to a stop as all the lights went out.’
      • ‘Trinity's office tower shuddered and dust began to penetrate the building down elevator shafts from the top.’
      • ‘The engine kicked over and the van shuddered as it pulled forward and out to the street.’
      • ‘The car eventually shuddered to a halt on its roof.’
      • ‘The airship pitched suddenly diving forward and then back as the aircraft shuddered in a sick whine.’
      • ‘Next afternoon a squall out of the southeast is kicking up and our tent shudders against the strong gusts.’
      • ‘Suddenly, there was a loud blast and the house shuddered momentarily.’
      • ‘A cannon ball struck the wall of the fortress and the building shuddered underneath us.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nearing 4,000m, my ears pop again, before the car shudders to a stop, and another fleece-covered assistant lets us out.’
      • ‘The explosions began around 2: 30 am and came in rapid succession, seconds apart, making buildings shudder.’
      • ‘The aircraft shuddering and its reduced controllability severely compounded the difficulty of the instrument flight.’
      • ‘A rogue wave breaks over the coach-house roof, and the boat shudders in protest.’
      • ‘I also noticed some body flex due to loss of structural rigidity with the whole car shuddering over potholes in the roads.’
      • ‘She pressed down on a button and the ship shuddered as the main engine sprung to life.’
      • ‘The aircraft shuddered to a stop and began a rapid rollback.’
      • ‘Every time the driver changed gears, the bus shuddered, stalled and rolled backwards.’
    2. 1.2(of a person's breathing) be unsteady, especially as a result of emotional disturbance.
      ‘he drew a deep, shuddering breath’
      • ‘Mina took a deep, shuddering breath, and sobbed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I closed my eyes, trying to calm myself down, trying to forget the horror of the nightmare, and took one deep shuddering breath.’
      • ‘Taking a deep, shuddering breath, she whispered, ‘It was horrifying.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She breathed in and out in long shuddering breaths.’
      • ‘Drawing in a deep, shuddering breath, he brushed away his tears and tried to shake the cold, bitter feeling that had settled within him.’
      • ‘She drew a deep, shuddering breath and let it out with a shaky sigh.’
      • ‘She snapped, taking a deep, shuddering breath.’
      • ‘I imagine if any proper Springsteen fans are reading they'll be shuddering at that.’
      • ‘He waits as Ian takes in a deep and shuddering breath then opens his eyes as commanded.’
      • ‘I lifted up a hand to wipe them away as took a deep shuddering breath.’
      • ‘He took a deep breath, shuddering, and tried again.’
      • ‘The tears spilled over and Faith turned away as she found herself racked by shuddering breaths.’
      • ‘Nor's eyes widened with surprise and he let out a short, shuddering breath.’
      • ‘She pulled away from my grasp and leaned against the nearest tree, shuddering and gasping for breath as she sobbed into her hands.’
      • ‘The Welshman took a deep, shuddering breath, yet when he spoke his voice was steady.’
      • ‘Jake awoke instantly, shuddering and gasping for breath.’
      • ‘He slumped against the windows, taking a deep shuddering breath.’
      • ‘Milo's coughing fit passed, and he lay back down on the bed, breathing deep, shuddering breaths.’


  • An act of shuddering.

    ‘the elevator rose with a shudder’
    figurative ‘the pound's devaluation sent shudders through the market’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The word sends a shudder through the body of any veteran of the Second World War.’
    • ‘An involuntary shudder snaked through my body.’
    • ‘She hurriedly climbed out, her body racked with shudders.’
    • ‘A shudder went through her body, and she broke contact with him.’
    • ‘So, I gave a little shudder, and turned back to my tasks in hand, including a little watercolour painting.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As he approached the spot he said he heard ‘a sort of a shudder and bump’.’
    • ‘The shudder in Tsushiko's body movements told Chase of the prisoner's rising anxiety.’
    • ‘If Darwin could have seen the molecular complexity of the eye, his shudder might well have turned even colder.’
    • ‘But I think that first-degree murder verdict should send a shudder through the defendant.’
    • ‘Leaning close to whisper in his ear I felt his body shudder.’
    • ‘A shudder passed through her body and all the colour drained from her face.’
    • ‘When I was done, my body gave a shudder and slowly began to sink.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.

      ‘you were such a good girl—it gives me the shudders to hear you use words like that’
      • ‘Twenty years later that image still gives me the shudders.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘I shudder to think what nations around the world would think of such an analogy.’
      • ‘What would have happened had I not locked the doors I shudder to think.’
      • ‘For my part, I shuddered to think of what Wickham would consider an accomplishment.’
      • ‘Where her sport would be without her I shudder to think.’
      • ‘I shudder to think what some of you must think about me.’
      • ‘I shudder to think how much the weapons must now weigh.’
      • ‘Left to my own devices, I shudder to think what the results would have been.’
      • ‘What he meant by adaptation, I shudder to think.’
      • ‘Without her, I shudder to think what kind of mess I would have made of the evening.’
      • ‘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.