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quaver

A quaver is a trembling or shaking sound, especially in a person's voice. When you give your first speech in front of a crowd, don't be surprised to hear a quaver in your voice.

The nervous or emotional tremor in a person's speaking voice is one kind of quaver. It's also a primarily British term for an eighth note in music. To quaver can mean both to speak in a trembling voice, or to sing in a similar way, with a little warble or trill. The fifteenth century meaning of quaver is "to tremble or vibrate," and it's related to the earlier cwavien, "to shake," from the Low German word quabbeln, "tremble."

Definitions of quaver
  1. verb
    give off unsteady sounds, alternating in amplitude or frequency
    synonyms: waver
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    type of:
    sound, vocalise, vocalize, voice
    utter with vibrating vocal chords
  2. verb
    sing or play with trills, alternating with the half note above or below
    synonyms: trill, warble
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    type of:
    sing
    produce tones with the voice
  3. noun
    a tremulous sound
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    type of:
    sound
    the sudden occurrence of an audible event
  4. noun
    a musical note having the time value of an eighth of a whole note
    synonyms: eighth note
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    type of:
    musical note, note, tone
    a notation representing the pitch and duration of a musical sound
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