Definition of quake in US English:



[no object]
  • 1(especially of the earth) shake or tremble.

    ‘the rumbling vibrations set the whole valley quaking’
    • ‘Four soldiers charge at Gallahad, he then looks at the ground and the Earth starts to quake making the soliders go flying everywhere.’
    • ‘The mountains quake before him, the hills melt; the earth is laid waste before him, the world and all that dwell therein…’
    • ‘The media spoke rapturously of the ‘column of steel’ that was moving north at breakneck speed, of the earth quaking beneath the weight of the treads of mighty tanks driving forward relentlessly.’
    • ‘All three of them went tumbling to the floor as the very foundation they were on began to quake violently.’
    • ‘But just as she was about to strike, the ground began to tremble and quake, knocking her off-balance, but she managed to regain her footing.’
    • ‘The trees trembled, the rocks quaked and all the animals fled in alarm.’
    • ‘Technicians misread critical monitors, and the core of the plant begins to tremble and quake.’
    • ‘The ground quaked, and the skies shook, as two titans waged war upon each other.’
    • ‘The branches quaked violently and the leaves were flattened and torn free and scattered across the grass.’
    • ‘Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.’
    shake, tremble, quiver, shiver, shudder, sway, rock, wobble, move, heave, convulse
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) shake or shudder with fear.
      ‘those words should have them quaking in their boots’
      • ‘They have struggled when opponents show no fear, and the 49ers ain't exactly quaking in their cleats.’
      • ‘Politicians quaked at the thought of antagonising him and he was in just about every way the ‘messiah’ the people dream of to turn the system on its head.’
      • ‘By this time I was literally quaking in my Reeboks, certain that at any moment the gum chewer, with a dismissive click of his fingers, would signal to those two soldiers to take me away.’
      • ‘What is it about religion that leaves people quaking in their otherwise creative shoes?’
      • ‘With natural gas prices skyrocketing this winter, people aren't just shuddering from the cold - they're quaking at the thought of coming energy bills.’
      • ‘Cable rivals in Texas insist they're not quaking in their cowboy boots.’
      • ‘Her eyes were open but she was quaking now with a lost look on her face.’
      • ‘Although this book might leave parents of teenage daughters quaking, it is an erotic, insightful and memorable debut.’
      • ‘But she refused to look weak in front of him, even though she was quaking on the inside.’
      • ‘In the face of such responsibility, I was often quaking in my sandals.’
      • ‘Up on the moors, Baildon Golf Club's members start playing the second hole on top of a huge rocky bank that makes novice players quake in their golf shoes.’
      • ‘It is not just the animals that are quivering in the waiting room - the owners are quaking at the thought of facing the vet's bill!’
      • ‘I am quaking with all-encompassing fear at the prospect, an act that may help to save me by keeping my body temperature up.’
      • ‘‘You did it, you dived with the Great White Sharks’ said Rodney Fox as I clambered from the cage still quaking.’
      • ‘Turning her head, my mother saw a young girl of about 16 who stood shivering in fear and quaking from emotion.’
      • ‘I don't think writers should be this godlike figure who reads from a podium and signs books while their fans quake before their greatness.’
      • ‘‘No,’ he shuddered, his once-mighty voice quaking with fear.’
      • ‘But you develop this kind of veneer so you can present yourself with what seems like confidence when you're quaking underneath.’
      • ‘This softly spoken woman, barely over five feet tall, can make grown men quake.’
      • ‘Though, suddenly, inside she was quaking with fear.’
      tremble, shake, shake with fear, shake like a leaf, shudder, shiver
      View synonyms


  • 1An earthquake.

    • ‘The average time between big quakes on this area of the fault is 140 years, which means that another could happen at any time, Nadeau said.’
    • ‘In her paper, Agnes Helmstetter, now of the University of California, Los Angeles, uses the most complete analysis to date to argue that maps that ignore small quakes miss a big part of the picture.’
    • ‘While these microearthquakes usually aren't felt at the surface, they can offer important clues about the origin of bigger, more destructive quakes.’
    • ‘They found that areas thought to be at low risk of earthquakes - the ones that had recently had quakes - actually experienced five times as many shocks as perceived high-risk areas.’
    • ‘It's been said that small quakes release pressure and lessen the potential impact of The Big One.’
    • ‘At numerous points along their line smaller quakes and aftershocks were taking place, adding to the tsunamis rippling out.’
    • ‘He says we should think more seriously about big natural events such as quakes, tsunamis and climate change.’
    • ‘In Sumatra there have been serious quakes in the last several years which haven't had the same consequences as the one on Boxing Day.’
    • ‘With more earthquakes, more and better seismographs recording quakes, and more comprehensive compilations of seismic data, seismologists are sharpening their view of the African plume.’
    • ‘While activity continues on most faults, some of those faults will show increasing numbers of small quakes, building up to a big quake, while some faults will appear to shut down.’
    • ‘However, even this method failed to capture the true size of the biggest quakes, which can generate much longer waves.’
    • ‘Among those, however, are what are known as killer quakes - earthquakes whose magnitude is great enough to destroy buildings, roads and lives.’
    • ‘In recent decades, quakes felt in San Diego, a city lacking a big disaster in its history, have tended to be far-away temblors with a long reach.’
    • ‘Several strong quakes followed through the night, and aftershocks continued to jolt the area through yesterday evening.’
    • ‘The quake was followed by at least four aftershocks and additional quakes of up to magnitude 6 could follow, the agency said.’
    • ‘The jolt came a few hours after several powerful quakes rattled northwestern Japan over a span of two hours starting at 5: 56 pm Saturday.’
    • ‘Experts warned, however, that Japan - notoriously susceptible to quakes and whose crowded capital is well overdue for the Big One - may not be so lucky next time.’
    • ‘The biggest of the quakes was reclassified to 9.0 magnitude and details now verified as follows.’
    • ‘Hawai'i's largest earthquake threat, however, isn't from home grown temblors - it is from tsunamis created by distant quakes along the Pacific Rim in Asia or the Americas.’
    • ‘New analyses of old seismic data have unveiled a previously unrecognized type of earthquake - quakes created by brief surges of massive glaciers.’
    earth tremor, tremor, convulsion, shock, foreshock, aftershock
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An act of shaking or quaking.
      ‘a little quake of delayed shock nudged her’


Old English cwacian.