Does anyone use "temblor" in spoken communication?

If so, any examples? I don’t watch TV news, so perhaps it has become commonplace in spoken news without me being aware of it, especially if the newscaster is simply reading a prepared text. I’m wondering more about everyday non-news spoken communication: “Hey Timmy–did you hear about that Christchurch temblor!!!”

If not, why are news organizations so enamored with it? Do the writers or the editors consider “earthquake” too mundane to be used more than once? And why do they mix up the two (identical, as far as I know) words in the same article?

The commonest pattern I’ve seen is that “temblor” shows up in the title, followed by “earthquake” in the first few sentences, followed by “temblor” again later in the body. It’s as if the writer wants to use another word–a fancier word, perhaps?–but is concerned the reader might not know what a “temblor” is, so “earthquake” is almost always somewhere in the article. I think I understand variety, but using a term one does not hear in spoken communication seems strangely stilted and to my mind at least, adds no value.

Here for example, but I don’t think it’s only an affectation of the AP folks, is it?

I forgot to mention that I am aware that “temblar” is a Spanish word related to shaking, and so “temblor” is probably some sort of derivative or misspelling of that. However I’m wondering if English speakers anywhere use the term in their spoken communication as an alternative to (earth) “quake”…

Assuming you mean trembler, yeah, I’ve heard people use it. If it’s showing up a lot in headlines that’ll be because it’s a slightly shorter word than earthquake.

ETA: ah, the article finally opened, and it is actually temblor. Should have known, with your username. :smiley: It’s not a word that would make any sense to me at all.

I never heard the term used in normal spoken conversation after having lived many years in California, though people frequently do use a sort of anglicized version of it: trembler (tremblor?) which I guess makes more sense to our ears being already familiar with the world tremble. So that usage probably counts as a use of temblor, in which case it was fairly common. FWIW the Spanish word we borrowed it from isn’t used often in Spanish, either, compared to the more common terremoto.

I’ve neither heard it nor used it, and I’ve been teaching English for 15 years now, English lit major before that.

I use it (sparingly) and I’ve seen it used as the OP describes. But I’m a fan of words in and of themselves, and I don’t eschew additions to my vocabulary.

I would totally use it if a certain actor fell down during an earthquake in the South Pacific; I’d leap at the chance to write a headline like “Jeffrey Tambor takes a tumbler in a temblor in Timor,” for example.

That’s Terrible.

It’s also one of the Spanish words for earthquake, and as such it isn’t misspelt.

I’ve never heard that word before. Tremor, yes… temblor, no.

You must never have read any CNN or BBC News reports on any earthquake incident. Guaranteed they’ll use both terms.

I just Googled ‘temblor.’ There are lots of dictionary sites, a couple of smaller news sites, some Spanish language sites and a rock band. Nothing on CNN or the BBC. Maybe there is if you go further back, but it doesn’t appear to have been used for the recent Christchurch earthquake.

Always good to learn a new word, anyway; handy for Countdown (the quiz show) too.

CNN used it.

Pssst. . . from the OP:

Bolding mine. I think the key points in the question are a) non-news, and b) spoken. I’ve never heard it in casual conversation. Only ‘earthquakes,’ ‘quakes,’ and ‘aftershocks.’

“Temblor” is one of those traditional American headlinese words, probably because it’s shorter than “earthquake.”

When I lived in California, temblor was used constantly in the news, and I knew a few people that used it in everyday speech. I have probably used it once or twice in speech, but it’s the same number of syllables as “earthquake,” so I tend not to use it much.

I’ve heard “trembler,” but I’ve always viewed it as a mispronunciation of “temblor.” This thread is the first time I’ve seen “trembler” in print referring to an earthquake. Side note: the spelling checker in Firefox doesn’t recognize “trembler” or “tremblor.”

Probably a different set of results when searching from the UK or US. In any case, it’s certainly not true that every article (or even most articles) about earthquakes by the BBC or CNN use this word so people should know it.

Never heard or seen “trembler.” “Temblor” is pretty common, but only in print (usually news stories or articles about earthquakes), never spoken except in newscasts.

As a writer, I’d have to say it’s not pretension (not always, anyway). It’s just that any word repeated over and over tends to grate on the ear after a while. If you’ve got the same word appearing seven times in two paragraphs, you’re going to replace three or four of them with a synonym. AFAIK, “earthquake” only has one synonym: “temblor.”

I grew up in SoCal & agreed with Wombat.

“Temblor” is news-speak, pure and simple. Nobody ever uses/used it in real life or in non-news writing.

“Tremor” was occasionally used as a synonym for “small earthquake” by both news folks and real people in real conversation or writing.

“Trembler” is some illiterate’s mispronounciation of “temblor” that was then re-transcribed into print. Or perhaps it comes from somebody gluing “tremor” & the half-rememberd “temblor” together. In either case, it’s stone-ignorant.

Or maybe it refers to a supervillain who causes earthquakes, and happens to be suffering from Parkinson’s.

Or has quick sex in back alleys (q.v. knee trembler)