quake

(redirected from quaking)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.

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.
See also: leaf, like, quake

quake in (one's) boots

To tremble with fear or nervousness. (Sometimes said 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!
See also: boot, quake

be quaking in (one's) boots

To be trembling with fear or nervousness. (Sometimes said sarcastically.) Ooh, I'm really scared of you! I'm quaking in my boots, you frighten me so!
See also: boot, 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 boots

 and 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.
See also: boot, shake

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.
See also: boot, quake

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.
See also: boot, quake

(be) ˌquaking/ˌshaking in your ˈboots/ˈshoes

be very worried or frightened: The prospect of facing the team again in the semi-final had everyone quaking in their boots.
See also: boot, quake, shake, shoe
References in classic literature ?
In the light of the lantern Wendy saw his hook grip the boat's side; she saw his evil swarthy face as he rose dripping from the water, and, quaking, she would have liked to swim away, but Peter would not budge.
Then he rose up, quaking, and for the first time since he stood on the window-ledge, he remembered a lady who had been very fond of him.
Hair-Face ran out on the quaking morass and gained the firmer footing of a grass-hummock a dozen yards away.
One day the Countrymen noticed that the Mountains were in labour; smoke came out of their summits, the earth was quaking at their feet, trees were crashing, and huge rocks were tumbling.
The boundless sea rang terribly around, and the earth crashed loudly: wide Heaven was shaken and groaned, and high Olympus reeled from its foundation under the charge of the undying gods, and a heavy quaking reached dim Tartarus and the deep sound of their feet in the fearful onset and of their hard missiles.
On the 29th of April, as I was fishing from the bank of the river near the Nine-Acre-Corner bridge, standing on the quaking grass and willow roots, where the muskrats lurk, I heard a singular rattling sound, somewhat like that of the sticks which boys play with their fingers, when, looking up, I observed a very slight and graceful hawk, like a nighthawk, alternately soaring like a ripple and tumbling a rod or two over and over, showing the under side of its wings, which gleamed like a satin ribbon in the sun, or like the pearly inside of a shell.
cried Hattersley, snatching up a footstool and hurting it at the head of his host; but he as well as missed his aim, and the latter still sat collapsed and quaking with feeble laughter, with tears running down his face: a deplorable spectacle indeed.