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Therefore, this center becomes activated when the body temperature falls even a fraction of a degree below a critical temperature level. Increased muscular activity results in the generation of heat as a byproduct.

Most often, when the purpose of the muscle activity is to produce motion, the heat is wasted energy. In shivering, the heat is the main intended product and is utilized for warmth. Newborn babies, infants, and young children experience a greater net heat loss than adults because they cannot shiver to maintain body heat [ citation needed ]. They rely on non-shivering thermogenesis.

a shiver down (one's) spine

Children have an increased amount of brown adipose tissue increased vascular supply, and high mitochondrial density , and, when cold-stressed, will have greater oxygen consumption and will release norepinephrine. Norepinephrine will react with lipases in brown fat to break down fat into triglycerides.

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Triglycerides are then metabolized to glycerol and non-esterified fatty acids. These are then further degraded in the needed heat-generating process to form CO 2 and water. Chemically, in mitochondria the proton gradient producing the proton electromotive force that is ordinarily used to synthesize ATP is instead bypassed to produce heat directly.

Shivering can also appear after surgery. This is known as postanesthetic shivering. In humans, shivering can also be caused by mere cognition [1].


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This is known as psychogenic shivering [2] [3]. To shake or tremble, as from cold or fear. See Synonyms at shake. Nautical To cause a sail to flutter by sailing too close to the wind. To break into fragments or splinters; shatter. To cause to break suddenly into fragments or splinters. Middle English schivere slice, fragment, c. Old High German scivaro splinter]. Switch to new thesaurus. To move to and fro in short, jerky movements: A shiver went down John's spine when he overheard the managers discussing the money he'd stolen from the company safe.

A cold shiver went down my spine at the thought of having to work for another minute in that awful restaurant. When they announced that Sarah would have the chance to meet a movie star as a part of her prize, a shiver went down her spine. A shiver went up John's spine when he overheard the managers discussing the money he'd stolen from the company safe.


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  • A cold shiver went up my spine at the thought of having to work for another minute in that awful restaurant. When they announced that Sarah would have the chance to meet a movie star as a part of her prize, a shiver went up her spine. An exclamation of surprise.

    Shiver - Idioms by The Free Dictionary

    The phrase originated with sailors as "shiver one's timbers" meant to destroy one's ship and is usually used today in cartoonish portrayals of pirates. Well, shiver me timbers—I didn't think you were getting into town until tomorrow! You got cast as a pirate in the play? I bet you have one line—"Shiver me timbers! To cause an intense feeling of fear, nervousness, exhilaration, or excitement in someone. This creepy old house is sending shivers down my spine!

    The way that sonata swells always sends shivers down my spine. It sent shivers down my spine when Dorothy gave me such an amorous look. To cause one to have a feeling of fear or dread. This creepy old house is giving me the shivers!

    Shiver Sentence Examples

    To begin to feel fear or dread. I'm getting the shivers from this creepy old house!


    • a shiver runs/goes down (one's) spine.
    • Shivering - Wikipedia!
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    • Use shiver in a sentence | shiver sentence examples!
    • Principles of Political Economy (Illustrated).
    • References in periodicals archive? Horror fans looking for something new would be well advised to check out Shiver -- a title that serves as both a warning and a promise for what will follow.