Definition of tremulous in US English:



  • 1Shaking or quivering slightly.

    ‘Barbara's voice was tremulous’
    • ‘Back they come with the sublimely melodic ‘On The Chin’, led by one of those Ennio Morricone-style, tremulous guitar lines that have become a Tortoise trademark.’
    • ‘I drove all over York looking for her,’ says Geoff in a voice still tremulous with anxiety despite having Tessa back by his side in the cosy Cygnet pub in Price Street.’
    • ‘These largely acoustic songs reacquaint us with his tremulous, soulful vocals and cutting lyrical style.’
    • ‘It was in the muted laughter from dark alleys and the half caught lyrics from dance and jazz halls where women with tremulous voices sang about love and death, in such a way as to make one seem like torture, and the other almost jolly.’
    • ‘Bring back to your slow, tremulous simmer, and cook for 4-5 hours minimum, ideally 6 or 7.’
    • ‘But while he shares some of Young's tremulous vocal ability, this is someone with a unique perspective on the America terrain.’
    • ‘No, whether they're writing tremulous lo-fi acoustica or clashing pop symphonies, their lyrically exploratory heart of darkness is at least as important to the Delgados' ethic.’
    • ‘In silhouette, Grant also looked the part, with gravity-defying, ironic quiff and long tremulous limbs.’
    • ‘Album opener ‘Petrified Possessions’ is guided by a plodding piano line that's backed by a tremulous guitar adorned with tines of feedback.’
    • ‘Just remember as you hear the tremulous reporter, voice quaking in empathy, why the farmer is crying.’
    • ‘His voice softens and opens up, threading a tremulous quaver through its easy melody.’
    • ‘But if you close your eyes, it is suddenly so clear how young he is, how high and tremulous is his voice.’
    • ‘I suspect that it can only break the perfection of the story, particularly its tremulous, precarious existence on the edge of my world.’
    • ‘And then he could hear a smile and a tremulous quality in her voice.’
    • ‘By publicizing their private lives, they make us question the tremulous line between life and art.’
    • ‘He lowered it slightly and said in a tremulous voice as he gazed at the snow covered ground, ‘I pity you.’’
    • ‘Among tremulous flora and fauna are tremandra plants, with their shaking anthers, the gelatinous tremella fungi, and treron pigeons.’
    1. 1.1 Timid; nervous.
      ‘he gave a tremulous smile’
      • ‘Sara felt Christopher's firmer squeeze and forced a tremulous smile.’
      • ‘At the bottom of the carriage step, she turned and sent Christopher a slightly tremulous smile.’
      • ‘Her throat tightened and she released a tremulous smile.’
      • ‘Sara inclined her head, offering a tremulous smile between quick glances.’
      • ‘The typical Socialist is not, as tremulous old ladies imagine, a ferocious-looking working man with greasy overalls and a raucous voice.’
      • ‘A population without a balanced attitude to risk leads to extremes, with tremulous individuals cowering away from sausages while others seek out risk and self destruction through drugs.’
      • ‘It's a film where work, good and bad, is done by men, with women getting to play the tremulous wives or daughters.’
      • ‘He still felt slightly tremulous as he left the Yard and began to pass the small shops and restaurants that lined the street leading to Harvard Square.’
      • ‘‘I guess we've both been trying to keep things under wraps,’ she suggested with a tremulous smile.’
      • ‘On a timid, tremulous performance of REM's Everybody Hurts, she sounds like a reticent schoolgirl suddenly asked to perform at Live Aid.’
      • ‘'My life is hard enough as it is,’ she offered with a tremulous smile his direction.’
      • ‘The voice on the phone from New York is tremulous, unfailingly polite, marked by hesitations and bursts of nervous laughter.’
      • ‘She took a slow step toward him and offered a tremulous smile.’
      • ‘We see her tremulous schoolgirl self auditioning for the band along with a trio of equally improbable hopefuls: a ukulele-playing nun, an upper-crust saxophonist and a male drummer ready to don a frock to dodge the draft.’
      • ‘Sara blinked back the tears of hope and happiness and fear and relief before lifting her eyes to offer him a small and tremulous smile.’
      • ‘And a tremulous smile haunts her lips as she realizes that the audition is only partly to blame.’
      • ‘She meets his surprised gaze, her wide lips giving him a tremulous smile that makes his chest tighten with emotion.’
      • ‘It's all beautifully acted, but I didn't care about Susan and John and their tremulous relationship, laden with supercilious, middlebrow significance.’
      • ‘I'm plodding on with the street scene painting and it's beginning to come to life in spite of my tremulous incompetence.’
      • ‘Surprisingly, I hear his voice, weak and tremulous, at the base of my neck.’


Early 17th century: from Latin tremulus (from tremere ‘tremble’) + -ous.