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quake like a leaf
To tremble violently with fear or nervousness. My brother is so strong and scary-looking that he leaves people quaking like a leaf when he threatens them. I was quaking like a leaf when I went up to deliver my speech.
quake in (one's) boots
To tremble with fear. Often used sarcastically. My brother is so strong and scary-looking that people quake in their boots when he threatens them. Ooh, I'm really scared of you! I'm quaking in my boots, you frighten me so!
be quaking in (one's) boots
To be trembling with fear. Often used sarcastically. Ooh, I'm really scared of you! I'm quaking in my boots, you frighten me so!
quake in (one's) shoes
To tremble with fear. Often used sarcastically. My brother is so strong and scary-looking that people quake in their shoes when he threatens them. Ooh, I'm really scared of you! I'm quaking in my shoes, you frighten me so!
quake with (an emotion)
To tremble or shake as a result of some intense emotion. The sight would make even the most stalwart quaked with terror. Her voice quaked with shame as she recounted what happened. He was quaking with anger as he listened to the report.
See also: quake
quake with something
to shake as with fear, terror, etc. Alice was quaking with fear as the door slowly opened. Todd quaked with terror when he saw the vicious dog at the door.
See also: quake
shake in one's bootsand quake in one's boots
Fig. to be afraid; to shake from fear. I was shaking in my boots because I had to go see the manager for being late. Stop quaking in your boots, Bob. I'm not going to fire you.
quake in one's boots
Also, shake in one's boots; quake or shake like a leaf . Tremble with fear, as in The very thought of a hurricane blowing in makes me quake in my boots. Both quake and shake here mean "tremble." These idioms were preceded by the alliterative phrase shake in one's shoes in the late 1800s. The idioms with leaf allude to trembling leaves, as in He was shaking like a leaf when the exams were handed back. A similar expression was used by Chaucer, who put it as quake like an aspen leaf, a particularly apt comparison since aspen leaves have flattened stems that cause the leaves to quiver in the gentlest breeze.
be quaking in your boots
If someone is quaking in their boots, they are very frightened about something that is about to happen. If you stand up straight you'll give an impression of self confidence even if you're quaking in your boots. Note: Verbs such as shake, shiver, and tremble are sometimes used instead of quake. Someone had to tell the packed club that he wouldn't be appearing — you can imagine me shaking in my boots.
(be) ˌquaking/ˌshaking in your ˈboots/ˈshoesbe very worried or frightened: The prospect of facing the team again in the semi-final had everyone quaking in their boots.
quake/shake like a leaf, to
To tremble with fear. This simile occurs in several very early French fables (thirteenth century) and was amplified by Chaucer in the fourteenth century to quake like an aspen leaf (Troilus and Criseyde, Canterbury Tales, and elsewhere). It was repeated by numerous writers over the centuries, from Shakespeare to A. A. Milne. There is good reason for the comparison to aspens in particular. The aspens, along with poplars, have flattened leaf stalks that cause their pendulous leaves to quiver in the slightest breeze.