• trepidation •
Pronunciation: tre-pê-dey-shên • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, mass
Meaning: 1. Trembling, shaking, vibration. 2. Fearfulness, anxiety, a sense of worry.
Notes: This Good Word comes from a large and productive family. It is the action noun from the verb trepidate "to tremble, shake". It is based on the adjective trepid "afraid, agitated, shaking with fear", most often encountered in the negative, intrepid. The verb has an adjective, trepidatory [tri-pi-dê-tor-i] "fearful" or you can return to the original, trepid.
In Play: Trepidation has come to refer to physical shaking more than anxiety itself. The susurrous trepidation of the leaves that evening was so remindful of the waves on the shore, that she began feeling a bit queasy and had to retire early." Otherwise, it conjures up a sense of mild fear, hesitation from being unsure, "Hansel approached Beulah with his proposal of marriage with a little trepidation, having heard that she had turned down 11 men before him."
Word History: Today's word comes from Latin trepidatio(n) from trepidatus, the past participle of trepidare, to be in a state of confusion. This verb was generated from trepidus "fearful, anxious, upset", the source of our trepid.