quiver - shudder - tremble - shiver

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Paulfromitaly

MODerator
Italian
Hello,

These three verbs seem to basically convey the same meaning and I'm always unsure about the best choice when it comes to pick out the right one in these contexts:

1) pleasant situation: a kid has shakes when mummy gives him his new toy;
he quivers, shudders, shivers or trembles?

2) pleasant situation (hopefully:)) :my girlfriend's body has shakes when I touch her:
she quivers, trembles, shivers or shudders?

3) unpleasant situation: a guy has just been stabbed (in Limerick? :D) ;I'm having shakes while looking at him lying and bleeding on the pavement:
I'm quivering, trembling, shuddering or shivering?
 
  • rsweet

    Senior Member
    English, North America
    1) pleasant situation: a kid has shakes when mummy gives him his new toy;
    he quivers, shudders, shivers or trembles?
    You can say "he quivers with delight"or "trembles in anticipation." "Shudder" usually implies something bad. "Shivers" usually means cold or some sort of touch--"She shivered in delight at his touch" or "His touch sent shivers of delight down her spine."
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    1) pleasant situation: a kid has shakes when mummy gives him his new toy;
    he quivers, shudders, shivers or trembles?

    I wouldn't use any.


    2) pleasant situation (hopefully:)) :my girlfriend's body has shakes when I touch her:
    she quivers, trembles, shivers or shudders?

    Trembles I'd use.

    3) unpleasant situation: a guy has just been stabbed (in Limerick? :D) ;I'm having shakes while looking at him lying and bleeding on the pavement:
    I'm quivering, trembling, shuddering or shivering?

    Shivering or trembling or shaking, I suppose shivering too
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Can we get one thing straight first. A person doesn't 'have shakes', they 'have the shakes.'

    Like Alex_Murphy, by choice I wouldn't use any of the suggested fverbs in the contexts given.

    1) I don't remember any of my children having the shakes when they got a present. Usually they jumped up and down or ran around.

    2) I go along with rsweet.

    3) I have never had the shakes on seeing a bleeding body on the pavement, or anywhere else for that matter. Perhaps some people might shudder with horror. Personally I dial 999 or 911 depending on where I am at the time.

    I associate those verbs as follows:

    quiver - with anticipation
    shudder - with horror
    tremble - with fear
    shiver- with cold
     

    Porteño

    Member Emeritus
    British English
    Hi! Alex_Murphy. I wouldn't have thought 'tremble' related to excitement. The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary gives three uses: frightened, cold or emotional (like when you are about to cry and your voice trembles). I suppose 'excitement' might conceivably fall within the latter definition. However, like you, I would prefer 'to be excited'.
    Cheers!
     

    eggplant

    Member
    english; australia
    1. quivers (though probably not any of them)
    2. any and all.
    3. shivering or shuddering.

    Examples

    Shudder with horror.
    Tremble with fear
    Tremble with excitement
    His hand trembled with the infrimity of old age
    His hand shook with the infirmity of old age
    The cold made her shiver
    The movie was creepy, it sent shivers down my spine.
    She orgasmed, expressing her pleasure with a long shuddering gasp
    Shudder of pleasure
    The mouse quivered with fright. The arrow was in the tree, still quivering.
    Quiver of anticipation
    He was all aquiver with exciement.


    personally, I think they can be used in a wide range of situations, and that there isn’t really a strong negative/positive connotation for any of them. Although these are quite common:
    Shudder with horror
    Shiver due to cold


    I just see the movements differently
    “quivering” I picture as small vibrations
    “shivering” – what you do when you are very cold. Very fast vibration.
    “trembling” – a gentler vibration
    “Shuddering” as large, slower vibrations

    nb: a voice may ‘tremble’, or ‘shake’ but it rarely shudders or shivers.

    Do google search – that always works

    Quiver
    First ten results ‘he quivered’

    Fear
    arousal
    Arousal/pleasure
    Arousal/pleasure (ie. sex)
    Anger/emotion
    emotion
    Fear
    Fear
    Excitement/anticipation
    Excitement (not sexual)

    Tremble
    Arousal/surprise
    Embarrassment/self-consiousness
    Fear
    Awe
    Rage
    Dread
    Shudder

    -- I guess that illustrates the range of meanings they can take on.
     
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