Word of the Day Archive
Friday April 18, 2003
1. [Archaic] An involuntary trembling; quaking; quivering.
2. A state of dread or alarm; nervous agitation; apprehension; fright.
A sense of triumph was in the air as people bravely went to the polls, but a sense of trepidation, too. "It is the happiest day of my life," a woman told me near Dili's Santa Cruz cemetery. "But it is also my day of greatest fear."
-- Matthew Jardine, "Scenes From East Timor", The Progressive, November 1999
The ghost then disappeared, and as soon as Grosse could recover himself from the extreme trepidation, . . . he looked about him, and finding himself alone, he exclaimed, "Ghost or devil, I will soon prove whether or not thou liest!"
-- Ernest Rhys (editor), The Haunters & the Haunted
I had not been to any of the camps before and was filled with trepidation by this visit to the site of what Churchill called the greatest crime in history.
-- Leslie Epstein, "Pictures at an Extermination", Harper's Magazine, September 2000
Trepidation is from Latin trepidatio, from the past participle of trepidare, "to hurry with alarm, to tremble," from trepidus, "agitated, restless, disturbed." It is related to intrepid, "bold" (from in-, "not" + trepidus).