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 '18 at 14:34
  • So, should I say "Her face quivered for a second."? – learning May 9 '18 at 14:47
  • "pucker" ------ – Greg Lee May 9 '18 at 15:52
  • Winced. Balled up his face. – Hot Licks May 9 '18 at 22:37

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.




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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

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