Quiver

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2 comments on this post.
  1. chirodoc:

    Quaver sounds so much waver, that I am surprised that it didn’t occur to our erstwhile Word Detective whether or not there might be a connection.

  2. Fawn:

    I don’t believe these two words are unrelated. In fact, I believe that they are intimately connected.

    When perched, aimed at a target, the quiver full of arrows would be still in the expert archer, whereas in the archer, poised in rage, fear, or expectation and about to deliver his arrow would tremble and the arrows would shake in the quiver (as done with an expression of cold, rage fear, etc.) would cause the voice and the arrows to quiver.

    Yes?

    “Quiver” in this “arrow case” sense can also be used as a verb meaning “to put arrows in a quiver,” but the other, more common, “quiver” verb is utterly unrelated to arrows. This “quiver” first appeared in English in the late 15th century meaning, as the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines it, “to shake, tremble, or vibrate with a slight rapid motion … to make a movement of this kind as an expression of cold, rage, fear, etc.” The verb “to quiver” can also be used transitively to mean “to cause to vibrate or tremble” or, more often, “to produce in or by quivering; to utter or give out in a trembling voice” (OED). This “speak or sing with a shaky voice” sense covers “quivering” both from shock or fear (“‘No!’ quivered out poor Mary, scarcely conscious that she spoke,” 1849) or simply because your voice is not ready for prime time (“The middle-aged, stubble-bearded piano player in the red jacket quivering out the ‘song’ from Philadelphia in a wimpy falsetto,” 1994).

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