Part of speech:
(Like “sleep,” “skydive,” and “succeed,” all intransitive verbs show complete action on their own and do not do action to an object. You sleep, you skydive, you succeed, and that’s it. You don’t “sleep a bed,” “skydive a plane,” or “succeed a plan”.
Likewise, something or someone quavers.)
When someone or something quavers, it trembles in a fearful way, or it makes a trembling, fearful sound.
"Quaver" is also a noun meaning a trembling, fearful sound.
More: quavered, quavering, quaverer, quavery, quaverous, quaveringly, unquavering, unquaveringly
How to use it:
"Quavering voice" and "his/her voice quavered" are the most common phrases. Also, though, a person can quaver, your hand can quaver, someone's shoulders can quaver, and so on. You can talk about a quavering sound, like a quavering musical note or a quavering birdsong.
And you can get abstract and talk about "a quaver of panic," "a quaver of confusion," "a quaver of vulnerability," "a quaver of urgency," and so on, keeping in mind that "a quaver of (whatever)" is a little trembling feeling that's somehow related to fear.
The opposite adjective, "unquavering," is useful, too: talk about an unquavering voice, an unquavering courage, an unquavering work ethic, and so on, to emphasize the steadiness and strength that something has when you might expect it to shake with fear instead.
I admire anyone who can give a speech at a funeral. My voice would quaver too much with both sadness and a general fear of public speaking.
I like to take my baby girl on a walk in Liliuokalani Park, where we're likely to see stray but well-fed kittens and one or two quavering mongooses.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "quaver” means when you can explain it without saying “tremble" or “quake."
Think of a time you had to show courage, and fill in the blank: "Unquavering, I managed to _____."
Example: "Unquavering, I managed to deliver my presentation to the class without making any really obvious errors or awkward pauses."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
Our game for May is: “What Do These Words Have in Common?”
The three words given will have something specific in common. (More than one right answer might be possible, but I've only got one particular answer in mind for each set of words.) I've arranged the questions from easiest to hardest, so today’s should be fairly difficult. By the end of the month, expect some whoppers.
What do these words have in common?: hanged, infarction, proscription
Answer: All are words that sound like mistakes but are actually correct words. ("Hanged" sounds like it should be "hung." "Infarction" sounds like "infraction," and "proscription," like "prescription.")
Try this one today: genie, algebra, ream
A Point Well Made:
Ann Landers: “Love is friendship that has caught fire.”
1. The opposite of QUAVER is
2. A quaver of _____ crept into her mind.
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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