Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Have You Ever Had The Weak Trembles?

what to do for the weak trembles

weak trembles noun Tremor, general weakness of the body; anxiety.
1913 Kephart Our Sthn High 227-28 But old Uncle Neddy Cyarter went to jump one of his own teeth out, one time, and missed the nail and mashed his nose with the hammer. He had the weak trembles. 1943 Justus Bluebird 21 When the old man went to the woods or the field to work for a good while he always took along a bite to eat, not because he got hungry, he said, but to keep his stomach from getting the “weak trembles” as he called them. 1952 Wilson Folk Speech NC 605 have the weak trembles = to be worried. 1984 Wilder You All Spoken 205 = weak and wobbly because of hunger or apprehension. 1990 Cavender Folk Medical Lex 33 = a feeling of general weakness associated with mild trembles of the body. 1994-97 Montgomery Coll. (known to ten consultants).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

————————

I had the weak trembles at work one day last week. I felt like I could barely hold my head up, I was slightly dizzy, and sick at my stomach. My spell of weak trembles lasted much longer than usual and by dinner I had convinced myself I must be getting the flu. But I wasn’t. After I eat a substantial meal and drank a coke instead of my usual glass of water I felt much better.

Typically a saltine cracker or biscuit and a sip of coke is enough to bring me right out of the weak trembles. How about you?

Tipper

You Might Also Like

26 Comments

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    April 3, 2019 at 9:39 am

    “Feeling Puny.” Worked so hard my shirttail never touched my A-s today. “I don’t feel so Pretty Good.” My Dad and his Father were Smoky Mountain Loggers in the 20’s, before the NationalPark . I wish I could remember all the colorful language they used. I will share as it comes to me. Thank you Tipper.

  • Reply
    Quinn
    April 3, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Weak trembles is a good word for it. I’ve had such a sudden weakness and my hands just shaking so hard it’s scary. It has happened a few times over the years and I guess my intuitive feeling is a kind of desperation to eat something right away, so that’s what I’ve done. I don’t know if it’s blood sugar or some other nutrient problem, but it’s darned unpleasant!

  • Reply
    Chuck Taylor
    February 20, 2018 at 10:14 am

    My mom told me granny used to say this all the time. Years down the road they found out she had sugar. Guess that’s why she always got the weak trembles. Granny was also very superstitious, she worried herself sick when she heard a whippoorwill at certain times of the day.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    March 16, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Tipper,
    the weak trembles is the body way of telling you it needs TLC and usually a drop of honey under the tongue usually bring your blood sugar back to norm. Sure not a good feeling huh?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 3, 2017 at 1:33 am

    Tipper,
    Ed…thanks for sharing your church sign about a bird singing! So true, I even get a kick out of the old starlings, Grackles and house sparrow chirps…they all seem happy and satisfied with there way of life and continue to tell us about it!
    Thanks Tipper for passing this on to Ed.

  • Reply
    RB
    March 2, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I usually say I’m shaky, and it usually happens when my blood sugar is low or when I get dehydrated at work. Generally a few sips of Powerade Zero sets me to rights again if it’s dehydration and a piece of cheese works if it’s low blood sugar.
    Now I do have tremors which is a shakiness which occurs all the time. It set in some time shortly before I got laid off in October of 2008 and has gotten worse through the years. I saw a doctor before it I retired, and they said it was probably the RXs I was on, but I haven’t been on any RXs since January 2009, so it must be another adventure in aging instead.
    Our Dad use to say, “Any day above the grass is a good day” and that’s certainly a saying I’ve come to appreciate and say a lot since getting older. We can either rue the day or find joy in it, and I’ve decided I’d rather find joy in it no matter what it brings.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    March 2, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    New one on me! I’ve never heard it before.

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    March 2, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    My Daddy got weak trembles. He would work out in the sun until he had salt crusted on his shirt from sweat. We carried water out to him in quart jars. He would drink the whole thing without stopping. After a while he would say “I have to go in. I’ve got the weak trembles.” At the time I never thought of it, but it might have been a sodium and potassium deficiency. All that white stuff on his back, collar and the brim of his cap was vital to his survival and he had depleted it.
    Daddy had a heart attack in 1974 in just those same kind of conditions and died 4 days later. He was on Hazel Creek and had no children there to carry him water and no place to “go in” to when it happened. Don’t presume that your “weak trembles” is a drop in blood sugar. It could be a drop in some vital mineral. Sodium, potassium, calcium are all water soluble and easily depleted.
    It could be the sodium in the cracker and not the sugar in the coke that your body is begging for.
    Thanks!
    Ed

  • Reply
    Ken
    March 2, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Tipper,
    I use to get the weak trembles. Then I found Little Debbies and I don’t have them anymore….Ken

  • Reply
    Charline
    March 2, 2017 at 11:58 am

    My Meemaw would say, “Let’s get us somethin’ to eat- I’ve got a sinkin’ feelin’ “.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    March 2, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Yes! Sometimes it seems like anxiety causes it. And not eating too. I’ve heard Mama say it so many times!
    As others have said–I wish you would get your blood sugar checked.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    March 2, 2017 at 11:06 am

    If I forget to take my Parkinson’s meds, my right hand trembles. I think what you call the “weak trembles” is the bodies reaction to low blood sugar.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 2, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Tipper,
    I had that very thing happen exactly like you wrote down in your sentence twice in my life time…”I had the weak trembles at work, I felt I could barely hold my head up, I was slightly dizzy, and sick to my stomach.” Only my spell of weak trembles lasted about a month!
    Nine months later, I was “rockin’ a baby”…go figure! Happened the same way both times!
    Can you understand why I would panic if I ever got the “weak trembles” exactly like that again! ha
    Thanks Tipper great post,
    PS…Old woman’s advice…go to the doctor and have your sugar checked, just sayin’ !

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    March 2, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I saw a church sign last night that really had meaning for me and thought I would share it if I may.
    “When did you ever hear a bird singing a sad song?”

  • Reply
    Teresa Atkinson
    March 2, 2017 at 10:18 am

    that’s what adrenal fatigue bouts feel like. Steals all my energy. Food doesn’t help but some foods aggravate it horribly. Rest doesn’t help. Exertion doesn’t make it worse. Its a horrible feeling and one that I will continue to have forever if I get into too much stress.
    Missing your sweet family.

  • Reply
    Tamela
    March 2, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I’m familiar with the feeling though I hadn’t used the term directly. It’s fitting. Also, think about diabetics or people on fasting or very restrictive diets – they sometimes get those “weak trembles”. Alchoholics too – – pretty much just indicates the body is out of balance when someone isn’t paying attention to eating a well balanced diet. That includes those of us who get so involved in a project or meeting a deadline that we forget to eat!
    Then there’s the “apprehensive” part of it – think “excitement” could do it too as I recall feeling very weak and trembly upon meeting a certain author whose work I greatly admired. I’ve never been shaky like that before (or since) and he ulitimately offered me a chair as we visited. – a bit embarassing but very exciting!
    Do any of y’all get the weak and tremblies before a performance?

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 2, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Thanks, Tipper, for advertising tonight’s presentation on the Bryson City Cemetery and the work that Friends of the BC Cemetery are doing. Directions to the center can be found on the Swain County Genealogical Society’s web page:
    http://www.swaingenealogy.com/
    Hope to see some of the BlindPig crew there; I already know that our buddy and faithful BP&A reader Ken Roper plans to come.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    March 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I’ve had the weak trembles, but don’t have em if I eat more protein and slack off on the sugar.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    March 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I’ve had the weak trembles, but don’t have em if I eat more protein and slack off on the sugar.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    March 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I’ve had the weak trembles, but don’t have em if I eat more protein and slack off on the sugar.

  • Reply
    Larry Griffith
    March 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I’ve had the weak trembles, but don’t have em if I eat more protein and slack off on the sugar.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 2, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I had the weak trembles at least once. I think it was when I had been working hard all day and skipped lunch. The term is a good description of how I felt, both weak and trembly. I just got so weak I had to quit.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    March 2, 2017 at 8:21 am

    This is a real malady usually caused by a Blood Sugar drop. A glass of Orange juice with a teaspoon of sugar in it works wonders on the “Weak Trembles”.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    March 2, 2017 at 8:04 am

    I recall the weak trembles as a young adult. It would happen when I got so caught up in life I forgot to eat while vigorously working. Unfortunately, most things change with age. I wish I could forget to eat and be active enough to get those weak trembles again. Since they are brought on by low blood sugar the best fix is soda crackers to keep nearby. As a diabetic I keep hoping my blood sugar will drop low enough to give me an excuse to eat a moon pie.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    March 2, 2017 at 8:02 am

    We get the weak trembles trying to get Alex on the bus every morning. That little girl sleeps like a rock!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 2, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Yep, I’ve had that. Food usually take care of it. I think it’s actually a sudden drop in blood sugar that causes that strange weak feeling to happen. It can happen very inconveniently!

  • Leave a Reply