Word + Quiz: quaver

Word + Quiz: quaver

verb: give off unsteady sounds, alternating in amplitude or frequency

verb: sing or play with trills, alternating with the half note above or below

noun: a tremulous sound

noun: a musical note having the time value of an eighth of a whole note


The word quaver has appeared in 24 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Jan. 10 in “Andy Murray Announces Retirement This Year” by Ben Rothenberg:

Though often in the shadow of the others in the Big Four of men’s tennis — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — Murray is considered by many the greatest sportsman in Scottish history. He was knighted at 29.

Just two years later, with a ranking of 230 after the injury layoff, Murray accepted his mortality in the sport. The weight of the decision was obvious in his news conference on Friday, when he broke down after the opening question: “How are you feeling, and how is the hip injury?”

“Yeah, not great,” Murray said, his voice quavering. He then sighed and let his emotions flood in, and left the interview room for about three minutes to compose himself.