quaver

[kwey-ver]
verb (used without object)
1.
to shake tremulously; quiver or tremble: He stood there quavering with fear.
2.
to sound, speak, or sing tremulously: Her voice quavered a moment and then she regained control.
3.
to perform trills in singing or on a musical instrument.
verb (used with object)
4.
to utter, say, or sing with a quavering or tremulous voice.
noun
5.
a quavering or tremulous shake, especially in the voice.
6.
a quavering tone or utterance.
7.
(Music chiefly British) an eighth note.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English quaveren (v.), blend of quake and waver1

quaverer, noun
quaveringly, adverb
quavery, quaverous, adjective
unquavering, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
quaver (ˈkweɪvə)
 
vb
1.  to say or sing (something) with a trembling voice
2.  (intr) (esp of the voice) to quiver, tremble, or shake
3.  rare (intr) to sing or play quavers or ornamental trills
 
n
4.  music Usual US and Canadian name: eighth note a note having the time value of an eighth of a semibreve
5.  a tremulous sound or note
 
[C15 (in the sense: to vibrate, quiver1): from quaven to tremble, of Germanic origin; compare Low German quabbeln to tremble]
 
'quaverer
 
n
 
'quavering
 
adj
 
'quaveringly
 
adv
 
'quavery
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

quaver
"to vibrate, tremble," early 15c., probably frequentative of cwavien "to tremble, shake" (early 13c.), probably related to Low Ger. quabbeln "tremble," possibly of imitative origin. Meaning "sing in trills or quavers" first recorded 1538. The noun meaning "musical note" is first recorded 1570.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
When his friends imitate him, they make their voices higher and gentler, and they introduce a quaver.
Depending on the angle and the intensity of the light, illuminated images shrink, grow and quaver.
Gray's voice has a sharp, nervous quaver that keeps him sounding frayed and unpretty.
The lightning split the sky, but the song went on without a quaver.
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