Before a person cries, their facial muscles may have quick movements, like the muscles are vibrating. How would you describe that? Here is what I would say:

"Her face twisted a second"

However, I don't think that represents what I am trying to say. Any suggestions to describe these facial movements?

  • 2
    quivering certainly describes the action but it is not specific to “pre-crying”
    – Jim
    May 9, 2018 at 14:34
  • So, should I say "Her face quivered for a second."?
    – learning
    May 9, 2018 at 14:47
  • "pucker" ------
    – Greg Lee
    May 9, 2018 at 15:52
  • Winced. Balled up his face.
    – Hot Licks
    May 9, 2018 at 22:37

2 Answers 2


Shiver - Tremor - quiver could express it I believe. However, if you intend to imply their shaking or quivering while crying, you could use sob since it suggests a more emotional form of crying.





quiver, tremble, twitch all apply: quiver is perhaps more commonly-used in reference to strong emotion, particularly crying.

I checked my standard reference for such things - the Oxford English Dictionary.

For further reproducability, I add links to a Google NGram run:

Face quivered, twitched, trembled- Google NGram

  • Please add sources to support your answer.
    – JJJ
    May 9, 2018 at 17:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.