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From earlier wabble (wobble), probably from Low German wabbeln (to wobble). Compare Dutch wiebelen and wobbelen (to wobble), Old Norse vafla (to hover about, totter).



wobble (plural wobbles)

  1. An unsteady motion.
    Synonyms: jiggle, quiver, shake, tremble
    The fat man walked down the street with a wobble.
    • 2011 October 29, Neil Johnston, “Norwich 3 - 3 Blackburn”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      That should have been that, but Hart caught a dose of the Hennessey wobbles and spilled Adlene Guedioura's long-range shot.
  2. A tremulous sound.
    Synonyms: quaver, tremble, tremolo, vibrato
    There was a wobble on her high notes.
  3. (music) A low-frequency oscillation sometimes used in dubstep.
    • 2012 October 24, Jon Caramanica, “No More Kid Stuff for Taylor Swift”, in The New York Times[2], →ISSN:
      “I Knew You Were Trouble,” one of the year’s great pop songs, begins like a sock-hop anthem, with jaunty guitars. A dubstep wobble arrives about halfway through like a wrecking ball, changing the course not just of the song but also of Ms. Swift’s career.
  4. (genetics) A variation in the third nucleotide of a codon that codes for a specific aminoacid.



wobble (third-person singular simple present wobbles, present participle wobbling, simple past and past participle wobbled)

  1. (intransitive) To move with an uneven or rocking motion, or unsteadily to and fro.
    Synonyms: judder, shake, shudder, tremble
    the Earth wobbles slowly on its axis
    the jelly wobbled on the plate
    • 1982 August, Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; 3), London: Pan Books, →ISBN, page 27:
      The apparition wobbled in front of Arthur's eyes, though the truth of the matter is probably that Arthur's eyes were wobbling in front of the apparition. His mouth wobbled as well.
    • 2013 July 6, “The rise of smart beta”, in The Economist[3], volume 408, number 8843, page 68:
      Investors face a quandary. Cash offers a return of virtually zero in many developed countries; government-bond yields may have risen in recent weeks but they are still unattractive. Equities have suffered two big bear markets since 2000 and are wobbling again. It is hardly surprising that pension funds, insurers and endowments are searching for new sources of return.
  2. (intransitive) To tremble or quaver.
    Synonyms: quaver, quiver, tremble
    The soprano's voice wobbled alarmingly.
  3. (intransitive) To vacillate in one's opinions.
    Synonyms: falter, vacillate, waffle, waver
    I'm wobbling between the Liberals and the Greens.
  4. (transitive) To cause to wobble.
    Synonyms: jiggle, rock, shake, wiggle
    The boy wobbled the girl's bike.
    • 1900, Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men on the Bummel[4]:
      He said: “This front wheel wobbles.”
      I said: “It doesn’t if you don’t wobble it.” It didn’t wobble, as a matter of fact—nothing worth calling a wobble.

Derived terms[edit]