Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Speaking about the recent second earthquake in Nepal, CNN’s Wolfe Blitzer referred to tremblers or tremblors. It’s impossible to tell from pronunciation alone how he would have spelled it.
He should have used the more correct temblor, a word for earthquake taken from the Spanish, and at first popularized in the southwestern United States. To tremble is to shake or quiver involuntarily because of fear or cold, so a trembler could be a terrified person, but not properly an earthquake.
He could also have used the word tremor, a shaking movement of the ground before or after an earthquake. Contributing to the confusion is the fact that all three words (trembler, temblor, tremor) track back to the same Latin verb, tremere, to shake.
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