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bow and quiver


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English quiver, from Anglo-Norman quivre, from Old Dutch cocare (compare Dutch koker), from Hunnic *kukur ‎(flask, cask)[1] (compare Uyghur (Taranči) [script needed] ‎(kökür), Kazakh [script needed] ‎(kökkör)), from Mongolic *köky- ‎(to suckle) (compare Kalmyk кøкyp ‎(køkyp, leather flask for kumis), Middle Mongolian ᠺᠥᠺᠦᠺᠦᠷ ‎(køkygyr, cowhide water- or wine-cask)).[2] Replaced early modern English cocker. More at cocker.


quiver ‎(plural quivers)

  1. (weaponry) A container for arrows, crossbow bolts or darts, such as those fired from a bow, crossbow or blowgun.
    • 1598, William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing, Act I, Scene I, line 271:
      Don Pedro: Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
    • 1786, Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, page 39:
      Arrows were carried in quiver, called also an arrow case, which served for the magazine, arrows for immediate use were worn in the girdle.
  2. (figuratively) A ready storage location for figurative tools or weapons.
    He's got lots of sales pitches in his quiver.
  3. (obsolete) The collective noun for cobras.
  4. Shaking or moving with a slight trembling motion.
  5. (mathematics) A multidigraph.


  1. ^ Robert K. Barnhart, ed., Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology, s.v. “quiver” (H.W. Wilson, 1988), 878.
  2. ^ Wolfgang Pfeifer, ed., Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Deutschen, s.v. “Köcher” (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbucher Vertrag, 2005).

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English cwiver, from Old English *cwifer


quiver ‎(comparative more quiver, superlative most quiver)

  1. (archaic) Nimble, active.
    • 1598, William Shakespeare, Henry V, Part II, Act III, Scene II, line 281:
      [] there was a little quiver fellow, and 'a would manage you his piece thus; and 'a would about and about, and come you in and come you in.

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English quiveren, probably from the adjective.


quiver ‎(third-person singular simple present quivers, present participle quivering, simple past and past participle quivered)

  1. (intransitive) To shake or move with slight and tremulous motion; to tremble; to quake; to shudder; to shiver.
    • 1593, William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, Act II, Scene III, line 12:
      The birds chaunt melody on every bush, / The snake lies rolled in the cheerful sun, / The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind / And make a checker'd shadow on the ground.
    • Addison
      And left the limbs still quivering on the ground.