Definition of shudder in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈSHədər/


[no object]
1(Of a person) tremble convulsively, typically as a result of fear or revulsion: I shuddered with horror
More example sentences
  • I've made some mistake that I still shudder to think about.
  • I do shudder to think of how the teams such as the one described in this article would have reacted to such pressure.
  • In terms of our community and what we do and what it takes to get people in and off property, and I would shudder to think what it would take to do that in the middle of the night.
shake, shiver, tremble, quiver, vibrate, palpitate
1.1(Especially of a vehicle, machine, or building) shake or vibrate deeply: the train shuddered and edged forward
More example sentences
  • Trinity's office tower shuddered and dust began to penetrate the building down elevator shafts from the top.
  • A cannon ball struck the wall of the fortress and the building shuddered underneath us.
  • The engine kicked over and the van shuddered as it pulled forward and out to the street.
1.2 (usually as adjective shuddering) (Of a person’s breathing) be unsteady, especially as a result of emotional disturbance: he drew a deep, shuddering breath
More example sentences
  • Milo's coughing fit passed, and he lay back down on the bed, breathing deep, shuddering breaths.
  • She snapped, taking a deep, shuddering breath.
  • He drew a deep shuddering breath, cursing with every ounce of his soul the hallmark of the Elven race that gave him the memories of his parents' lives as they themselves had lived them.


An act of shuddering: the elevator rose with a shudder figurative the peso’s devaluation sent shudders through the market
More example sentences
  • At one point, a technician lifted his wounded leg to clean it, and the weakened tibia fractured with a sharp crack that sent shudders through the surgical staff.
  • She hurriedly climbed out, her body racked with shudders.
  • But I think that first-degree murder verdict should send a shudder through the defendant.
shake, shiver, tremor, tremble, trembling, quiver, quivering, vibration, palpitation, spasm



give someone the shudders

informal Cause someone to feel repugnance or fear: it gives me the shudders to hear you use words like that
More example sentences
  • Twenty years later that image still gives me the shudders.
  • Even the name gave Amy the shudders as she sat hunched up at the back of the cab, her suitcase in hand staring out at the scenery as it sailed by.
  • I had heard her say things to people that gave me the shudders: ‘This is the worst book I've read in a year,’ or things like that.

I shudder to think

Used to convey that something is too unpleasant to contemplate: I shudder to think what might have happened if he hadn’t woken you up
More example sentences
  • What would have happened had I not locked the doors I shudder to think.
  • What he meant by adaptation, I shudder to think.
  • Where her sport would be without her I shudder to think.



Pronunciation: /ˈSHəd(ə)riNGlē/
Example sentences
  • Zack thought about for a moment and then when I turned again to go, he said shudderingly, in a very little voice ‘Okay.’
  • We older people lived through that shudderingly in the World War.
  • They need the thrill of terror to make them shudderingly submissive.


Example sentences
  • His wild black hair was plastered to his forehead, his shoulders shaking with each shuddery breath he drew in.
  • Where I used to feel a shuddery excitement at the onset of another year, now I feel like time is slipping past me instead of moving me forward.
  • She becomes a devotee of death, addicted to the most shuddery of Grimms' fairy tales and a book for the terminally ill called A Hundred Ways to Die.


Middle English (as a verb): from Middle Dutch schūderen, from a Germanic base meaning 'shake'.

Words that rhyme with shudder

judder, rudder, udder

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: shud·der

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