Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A state of alarm or dread; apprehension. See Synonyms at fear.
  • n. An involuntary trembling or quivering.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fearful state; a state of hesitation or concern.
  • n. An involuntary trembling, sometimes an effect of paralysis, but usually caused by terror or fear; quaking; quivering.
  • n. A libration of the starry sphere in the Ptolemaic system; a motion ascribed to the firmament, to account for certain small changes in the position of the ecliptic and of the stars.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An involuntary trembling, sometimes an effect of paralysis, but usually caused by terror or fear; quaking; quivering.
  • n. Hence, a state of terror or alarm; fear; confusion; fright.
  • n. A libration of the starry sphere in the Ptolemaic system; a motion ascribed to the firmament, to account for certain small changes in the position of the ecliptic and of the stars.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Tremulous agitation; perturbation; alarm.
  • n. A trembling of the limbs, as in paralytic affections.
  • n. A vibratory motion; a vibration.
  • n. In ancient astronomy, a libration of the eighth sphere, or a motion which the Ptolemaic system ascribes to the firmament to account for certain phenomena, especially precession, really due to motions of the axis of the earth.
  • n. Synonyms Tremor, Emotion, etc. (see agitation), flutter, tremulousness, discomposure.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a feeling of alarm or dread

Etymologies

Latin trepidātiō, trepidātiōn-, from trepidātus, past participle of trepidāre, to be in a state of confusion, from trepidus, anxious.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin trepidātiō, from trepidō ("be agitated") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Because this pervasive trepidation is unprecedented in their lifetime, most Americans have reflexively invoked the Depression in their efforts to comprehend their experience.

    Life In (and After) Our Great Recession

  • So, Saturday, I ran up to the local place, armed with a certain trepidation for an inflated price.

    Do It Yourself

  • With that the cub passed out the door in trepidation to the last for fear that Brissenden would hit him in the back with the bottle he still clutched.

    Chapter 39

  • A very nice young man, of whom no maid's mother need ever be in trepidation; a very strong young man, whose substance had not been wasted in riotous living; a very learned young man, with a Freiberg mining engineer's diploma and a B.A. sheepskin from Yale; and, lastly,

    CHAPTER 7

  • Presently F himself rushes in horror & trepidation from the room and while still expressing his agony & terror

    Novel into Drama and onto the Stage

  • I always feel a certain trepidation when I read the work of a friend, especially one who has given me as much encouragement and help as sartorias has.

    August 15th, 2006

  • Adding to my trepidation is this primary poll from Survey USA, which confirms Roulstone's campaign doesn't yet have the profile it needs.

    Sound Politics: Roulstone Update

  • I don't know why I say that. [oh look i'm crying again] I watched it with a certain trepidation, and halfway through the clip, when images of the results of the white phosphorous began showing, I could not stop crying.

    Response: [I can't happen to think of a title]

  • Xmas hurtles at us like a skateboarding troll trundling downhill - it's big, impressive, but to be viewed with a certain trepidation by those in its path.

    Toys R Us - Military Sword & Sorcery is coming ("#### Harry Potter! Daddy, where's my axe?")

  • The world watches in trepidation as the wildfires of chaos sweep from France across Europe.

    The French bloggers « BuzzMachine

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Comments

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  • the once vibrant health care alternative of lodge practice, which less than two decades before had inspired trepidation throughout the medical establishment, had virtually disappeared

    September 14, 2010

  • Eating Animals

    June 29, 2010

  • But trepidation of the spheares,
    Though greater farre, is innocent.
    —Donne, 'A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning'

    The touching of the Ptolemaic spheres one upon the other produced the music of the spheres.

    July 15, 2008

  • I hate this word. It is simply overused, particularly by sci-fi, fantasy, and gothic fiction authors. The worst abuse I have seen is in Bloodline by Kate Cary (which is, despite good reviews on Amazon, an absolute literary abomination!)

    April 17, 2008