"to tremble or quiver, shake suddenly," especially with cold, c. 1400, an alteration of chiveren "to shiver" (with cold, chills, horror), c. 1200, a word of uncertain origin, perhaps [Century Dictionary] from Old English ceafl "jaw," on the notion of chattering teeth. Middle English Compendium suggests it is a blend of chillen (see chill (v.)) and Middle English biveren, bivien "to shake, tremble" (from Old English bifian, beofian). The spelling change of ch- to sh- probably is from influence of shake. Related: Shivered; shivering.
We shiver with cold or a sensation like that of cold ; we quake with fear ; we shudder with horror. To quiver is to have a slight tremulous or fluttering motion. [Century Dictionary]
"small piece, broken bit, splinter, fragment, chip," c. 1200, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English word related to Middle Low German schever, schiver "splinter," Old High German scivero, from Proto-Germanic *skif- "split" (source also of Old High German skivaro "splinter," German Schiefer "splinter, slate"), from PIE root *skei- "to cut, split."
Surviving, if at all, in phrases such as break to shivers "break into bits" (mid-15c.). Also, shiver is said to be still dialectal for "a splinter" in Norfolk and Lincolnshire.
"to break in or into many small pieces; to burst, fly, or fall apart at once into many pieces," mid-14c., shiveren, from shiver (n.2) or its source.
Chiefly in the phrase shiver my timbers (1794), "a mock oath attributed in comic fiction to sailors" [OED]. Start my timbers in the same sense is by 1775; smite my timbers by 1782; split by 1786; burst by 1791). My timbers! as a nautical oath is attested by 1775, and timber (n.) "pieces of wood composing the frames of a ship's hull" seems to have been 18c. sailor's slang for "arms and legs" (perhaps with a grim awareness that some of theirs might be of wood after a sea-battle; compare timber-toe "wooden leg," in Grose). Related: Shivered; shivering.
"a tremulous, quivering motion, a shaking fit of the body," 1727, from shiver (v.1). The shivers in reference to an attack of fever chills is from 1861.
1670s, variant of dialectal skiver (1660s), perhaps from a Scandinavian source such as Old Norse skifa "a cut, slice" (of bread, etc.), Swedish skifer "a slate," which are related to shiver (n.1) "small piece."
Old English timber "building, structure," in late Old English "building material, trees suitable for building," and "trees or woods in general," from Proto-Germanic *tem(b)ra- (source also of Old Saxon timbar "a building, room," Old Frisian timber "wood, building," Old High German zimbar "timber, wooden dwelling, room," Old Norse timbr "timber," German Zimmer "room"), from PIE *deme- "to build," possibly a form of the root *dem- meaning "house, household" (source of Greek domos, Latin domus).
The related Old English verb timbran, timbrian was the chief word for "to build" (compare Dutch timmeren, German zimmern). As a call of warning when a cut tree is about to fall, it is attested from 1912 in Canadian English. Timbers in the nautical slang sense (see shiver (v.2)) is from the specialized meaning "pieces of wood composing the frames of a ship's hull" (1748).
The timber-wolf (1846) of the U.S. West is the gray wolf, not confined to forests but so-called to distinguish it from the prairie-wolf (coyote).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to cut, split," extension of root *sek- "to cut."
It forms all or part of: abscissa; conscience; conscious; ecu; escudo; escutcheon; esquire; nescience; nescient; nice; omniscience; omniscient; plebiscite; prescience; prescient; rescind; rescission; science; scienter; scilicet; sciolist; scission; schism; schist; schizo-; schizophrenia; scudo; sheath; sheathe; sheave (n.) "grooved wheel to receive a cord, pulley;" shed (v.) "cast off;" shin (n.) "fore part of the lower leg;" shingle (n.1) "thin piece of wood;" shit (v.); shive; shiver (n.1) "small piece, splinter, fragment, chip;" shoddy; shyster; skene; ski; skive (v.1) "split or cut into strips, pare off, grind away;" squire.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit chindhi, chinatti "to break, split up;" Avestan a-sista- "unsplit, unharmed," Greek skhizein "to split, cleave, part, separate;" Latin scindere "to cut, rend, tear asunder, split;" Armenian c'tim "to tear, scratch;" Lithuanian skiesti "to separate, divide;" Old Church Slavonic cediti "to strain;" Old English scitan, Old Norse skita "to defecate;" Old English sceað, Old High German sceida "sheath;" Old Irish sceid "to vomit, spit;" Welsh chwydu "to break open."
"extreme nervousness," 1925, American English, perhaps an alteration of dialectal chitter "tremble, shiver," from Middle English chittern "to twitter, chatter."
"shiver, have a chill," Northern England dialect, probably from an unrecorded Old English equivalent to Old High German gruwison "be in terror, shudder," German grausen (see gruesome).