When you quake, you tremble and shiver. A scary sound in a dark basement might make you quake.

To quake is to move rapidly back and forth, so quickly that the movement is almost a vibration. If you've ever felt the floor quake during an actual earthquake, you know the fluttery, shaking kind of movement. A person can quake with fear, and a building can quake during a wind storm. You can also use the word quake as a noun, to describe the feeling itself. The Old English root is cwacian, or "tremble or clatter of teeth."

Definitions of quake

v shake with fast, tremulous movements

palpitate, quiver
Type of:
move or jerk quickly and involuntarily up and down or sideways

v shake with seismic vibrations

“The earth was quaking
Type of:
agitate, shake
move or cause to move back and forth

n shaking and vibration at the surface of the earth resulting from underground movement along a fault plane of from volcanic activity

earthquake, seism, temblor
show 5 types...
hide 5 types...
seismic disturbance, shock
an instance of agitation of the earth's crust
earth tremor, microseism, tremor
a small earthquake
seaquake, submarine earthquake
an earthquake at the sea bed
a tremor (or one of a series of tremors) occurring after the main shock of an earthquake
a tremor preceding an earthquake
Type of:
geological phenomenon
a natural phenomenon involving the structure or composition of the earth

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.