From Middle English quaken, from Old English cwacian (“to quake, tremble, chatter”), from Proto-Germanic *kwakōną (“to shake, quiver, tremble”), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷog- (“to shake, swing”), related to Old English cweccan (“to shake, swing, move, vibrate, shake off, give up”) (see quitch), Eastern Frisian kwakkelje (“to flounder, limp”), Dutch kwakkelen (“to ail, be ailing”), German Quackelei (“chattering”), Danish kvakle (“to bungle”), Latin vēxō (“toss, shake violently, jostle, vex”), Irish bogadh (“a move, movement, shift, change”).
quake (plural quakes)
- A trembling or shaking.
- We felt a quake in the apartment every time the train went by.
- An earthquake, a trembling of the ground with force.
- California is plagued by quakes; there are a few minor ones almost every month.
- (intransitive) To tremble or shake.
- I felt the ground quaking beneath my feet.
- Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)
- She stood quaking like the partridge on which the hawk is ready to seize.
- 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, Nobody, chapter III:
- Turning back, then, toward the basement staircase, she began to grope her way through blinding darkness, but had taken only a few uncertain steps when, of a sudden, she stopped short and for a little stood like a stricken thing, quite motionless save that she quaked to her very marrow in the grasp of a great and enervating fear.
- (transitive, obsolete) To cause to tremble or shake.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)