Definition of tremble in English:



  • 1 Shake involuntarily, typically as a result of anxiety, excitement, or frailty.

    ‘Isobel was trembling with excitement’
    • ‘His eyes were dull and he was trembling slightly.’
    • ‘‘When the first truckload arrived, my hand was slightly trembling when shooting,’ he wrote.’
    • ‘Adam walked beside me, still trembling slightly.’
    • ‘Ivory's lip trembled slightly and her body shook with fear.’
    • ‘With her slim fingers slightly trembling, Amy disengaged the key he'd given her from her ring and let it spill from her hand to the floor.’
    • ‘The rain had stopped an hour ago and now a chill swept the air, rustling damp leaves and cutting through bare flesh which shook, trembled, beneath its rabid touch.’
    • ‘She could hear her raging heart beat wildly in her ears and she trembled with excitement and anxiety.’
    • ‘She's composed, but her lower lip's trembling slightly, and every few seconds, she'd bite it to try make it stop.’
    • ‘She could feel his hands trembling slightly at her waist.’
    • ‘I trembled with excitement as my ship rumbled to life.’
    • ‘He had broken out into a sweat and was trembling slightly.’
    • ‘She began to tremble slightly in anticipation.’
    • ‘He removed his own coat, putting it around her scrawny shoulders which were trembling slightly, then reached down to place her hand in his.’
    • ‘Her hand trembled slightly, and then it began to positively shake.’
    • ‘My hands trembled slightly as I locked my bike in front of the Rittenhouse Hotel.’
    • ‘It was still trembling, so slightly he could barely feel it.’
    • ‘And he smote the air with his fists, and believers trembled with excitement.’
    • ‘Still trembling slightly, I returned to the kitchen and made a pot of strong coffee.’
    • ‘He trembled slightly and said he wanted to be friends.’
    • ‘My body quivered, my hands trembled, and my eyes began to fill with tears.’
    shake, shake like a leaf, quiver, twitch, palpitate
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    1. 1.1Be in a state of extreme apprehension.
      [with infinitive] ‘I tremble to think that we could ever return to conditions like these’
      • ‘It made him tremble to think that the people may be allowed to make this decision.’
      be afraid, be fearful, be filled with fear, be frightened, be apprehensive, worry, be anxious, be in a state of anxiety, shake in one's shoes
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    2. 1.2Shake or quiver slightly.
      ‘the earth trembled beneath their feet’
      • ‘The call made her insides chill and stopped her in her tracks as the earth trembled slightly.’
      • ‘The entire world seemed to tremble beneath his feet from the sheer magnitude of the howl, more powerful than a thousand lions' roars.’
      • ‘Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the dagger trembling slightly.’
      • ‘Suddenly, a low grunting sound could be heard, and the very earth trembled beneath them.’
      • ‘The ground is still trembling beneath our feet.’
      • ‘The bleached earth trembled beneath the soles of my boots.’
      • ‘Upon entering the mist, they could hear thundering hooves from the other side as the ground trembled beneath their feet.’
      • ‘I looked around with amazement as the earth trembled beneath my feet.’
      • ‘A woman in Sheffield told the cameras that her dressing table had trembled slightly but nothing had fallen off.’
      • ‘The pair then hurry back to the now deserted village with Kong in hot pursuit, the earth trembling beneath his very step.’
      shake, shudder, judder, wobble, rock, vibrate, move, sway, totter, teeter
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  • 1A trembling feeling, movement, or sound.

    ‘there was a slight tremble in his voice’
    • ‘The tremble of torpedoes and guns and the whine of planes sounded from somewhere far above.’
    • ‘There was a slight tremble just before that which had a magnitude of around 1.1.’
    • ‘Jennifer grabbed her car door for support, and was heated with the evanescence of the shock wave, a slight tremble of the ground.’
    • ‘She felt it with a tremble of happiness and hope as her dreary eyes watched the clouds turn from pink to white, the sky from orange to blue…’
    • ‘Even when Mr. Taylor reminds Lisa and I about our detention I only experience a slight tremble.’
    • ‘When she firmly pressed her hand upon it, the door gave a slight tremble.’
    • ‘I tip-toed across the room to cast a tentative arm across the tremble of her shoulders.’
    • ‘It was all she could do to keep the tremble from reaching her voice, and keep the eye contact from breaking.’
    • ‘When I woke the next morning, it was with a pounding headache and a slight tremble in my limbs.’
    • ‘The thought of a battle sent more adrenaline coursing through her, but she successfully kept the tremble out of her voice.’
    • ‘His breath was warm on my face and I could swear I heard a tremble in his voice… or maybe that was just me.’
    • ‘Finally coming back to herself, she tried to hide the tremble in her voice.’
    • ‘‘But I do now, and I ask it still,’ Elaine said insistently, but there was a tremble in her voice now.’
    • ‘When the fish shakes its feelers, they thought, a slight tremble would occur.’
    • ‘Lex drew it along his forearm with smooth precision, savoring the slight tremble under the blade.’
    • ‘And yet what I hear is so remote, a tremble displaced in time, so indifferent, its spent passion whizzing above my immobile frame.’
    • ‘But eventually everyone focused back on the subject at hand when the tremble in the arbitrator's voice hinted his conclusion.’
    • ‘Stuffing a strand of hair behind her ear, Darcy answered without a tremble in her voice, though inside she felt like her bones had turned to jelly.’
    • ‘I heard the tremble in his voice as he said her name, like he was afraid to mention her.’
    • ‘Without warning, she felt the tremble of a sob wrench her body to the floor, hot tears pouring down her cheeks.’
    tremor, shake, shakiness, trembling, quiver, twitch, twitchiness
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  • 2informal A physical or emotional condition marked by trembling.

    • ‘In his situation, many a man has come down with the trembles.’
    1. 2.1
      another term for milk sickness


  • all of a tremble

    • informal Extremely agitated or excited.

      • ‘I declare I was all of a tremble for fear Mr. Box should come in before Mr. Cox went out.’
      • ‘I had to slam the door, and there I stood, all of a tremble, till I knew he had gone.’
      • ‘‘I'm all of a tremble - I've gone all wishy-washy,’ said Mrs Pepper after the Prince had left.’
      • ‘It wasn't funny to me, though; I was all of a tremble to see his danger.’
      • ‘I held on by him, for he had set me all of a tremble with his notion of a sail in sight, and watched for the Long-boat again.’
      • ‘Somehow, I knowed it was Jesus, an’ right den I waked up all of a tremble, an’ knowed it was a warnin’ dat I mus’ foller de Lord.’
      • ‘This coincidence threw the prophet almost into a frenzy, and the poor people were all of a tremble.’
      • ‘I came out all of a tremble, and began turning the spit.’
      • ‘He could stand only half of it, nervously snapped off the switch, went to bed all of a tremble.’
      • ‘My own brother, we grew up together; and I am all of a tremble, all of a tremble!’


Middle English (as a verb): from Old French trembler, from medieval Latin tremulare, from Latin tremulus (see tremulous).