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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), 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 (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.
  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.