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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)

  1. A trembling or shaking.
    We felt a quake in the apartment every time the train went by.
  2. An earthquake, a trembling of the ground with force.
    California is plagued by quakes; there are a few minor ones almost every month.


quake (third-person singular simple present quakes, present participle quaking, simple past and past participle quaked or (archaic) quoke or (obsolete) quook)

  1. (intransitive) To tremble or shake.
    I felt the ground quaking beneath my feet.
    • Sir Philip Sidney
      She stood quaking like the partridge on which the hawk is ready to seize.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To cause to tremble or shake.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)


Derived terms[edit]




  1. First-person singular present of quaken.
  2. Imperative singular of quaken.
  3. First-person singular subjunctive I of quaken.
  4. Third-person singular subjunctive I of quaken.