Definition of quaver in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkweɪvə/


[no object]
(Of a person’s voice) shake or tremble in speaking, typically through nervousness or emotion: his voice quavered with rage (as adjective quavering) ‘I’m not safe here, am I?’ she said in a quavering voice
More example sentences
  • Monty spins to attention, his head raised with great offense, his voice quavering with emotion - ‘Why did you say that?’
  • His voice quavering, the senator added, ‘I'm also sorry if anything I said in any way cast a negative light on our fine men and women in the military.’
  • ‘I couldn't stop in time,’ he explained, voice quavering.
tremble, quiver, shake, flutter, vibrate, pulsate, oscillate, fluctuate, waver, ripple, falter, trill, twitter, warble


1A shake or tremble in a person’s voice: it was impossible to hide the slight quaver in her voice
More example sentences
  • Despite himself, a little quaver was in his voice.
  • It's a mark of the return of confidence that no one said this with a quaver in their voice or a God-Willing shrug.
  • Andrew Shore's Don Alfonso, in spite of a quaver in his voice, was expert and satisfying.
2 Music , chiefly British A note having the time value of an eighth of a semibreve or half a crotchet, represented by a large dot with a hooked stem. Also called eighth note.
Example sentences
  • Furthermore, a comparison of the way in which crotchets and quavers are notated makes it likely that the same scribe copied both works.
  • Hopkins, an amateur composer, often described his theory in terms of musical notation, speaking of rests, crotchets, and quavers.
  • Tom is still performing, taking time each day to keep up with his dotted quavers and four beat notes.



Pronunciation: /ˈkweɪvərɪŋli/
Example sentences
  • ‘By the author of The Remains of The Day’ they quaveringly assert on the cover of his new novel.
  • The shorter man bravely risked embarrassment and asked quaveringly, ‘What woman?’
  • She gulped before asking quaveringly, ‘Um, sir… could you please tell us where we are?’


Pronunciation: /ˈkweɪvəri/
Example sentences
  • When Merce Cunningham calls from his home in New York, his soft voice sounds frail and quavery.
  • So it's not that your voice becomes more quavery when you're nervous or upset, rather that it becomes more steady.
  • In a pitying, quavery voice a shopper asks, ‘Do you want me to help you find the door?’


Late Middle English (as a verb in the general sense 'tremble'): from dialect quave 'quake, tremble', probably from an Old English word related to quake. The noun is first recorded (mid 16th century) as a musical term.

Words that rhyme with quaver

Ava, caver, craver, deva, engraver, enslaver, favour (US favor), flavour (US flavor), graver, haver, laver, paver, raver, saver, savour (US savor), shaver, vena cava, waiver, waver

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: qua¦ver

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