thought with a shudder



I was reading a story. One sentence I am not quite sure about what that means.
" She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long."
I don't understand what does that mean "a prayer" in this case and also "a shudder"
I think it means, she was breathing quickly and praying for her life will be long enough. Another part of the sentence I wasn't sure. A shudder? Doesn't that mean a blind, a shade? Why she was thing about her life with a blind? I don't get it.

Please help, thank you.

  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The first part of your question will be answered by this thread: breathe a prayer
    (And if it isn't, you can ask for further explanation there.)

    We like to have one question per thread, when it's possible, so this thread can focus on "thought with a shudder". :)

    The word is shudder, but you are thinking of shutter. Does that solve the problem? ;)

    If not, tell us, and we'll try to help.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    No, shudder doesn't mean a shade. You're thinking of shutter (which doesn't mean that either, but it's sort of related to a shade).

    You can find meanings of words in the WR dictionary by entering them in the box at the top of the page. The dictionary tells us this:
    shudder /ˈʃʌdə/
    • (intransitive) to shake or tremble suddenly and violently, as from horror, fear, aversion, etc
    • the act of shuddering; convulsive shiver
    So your text says she prayed for a long life—although the day before that she had thought about the long life ahead of her with a shudder.

    It seems to me that the day before, she must have been afraid of the long life ahead of her. But something must have happened to take away her fear, so that now she was praying that she would live a long time.

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