a member of the Society of Friends, a Christian religious group that meets without any formal ceremony and is strongly opposed to violence and war Culture The Society of Friends was established in England in the 1650s by George Fox. Members were originally called Quakers because they were thought to 'quake' or shake with religious excitement. Quakers worship Christ without any formal ceremony or fixed beliefs, and their meetings often involve silent thought or prayer. They are strongly opposed to violence and war, and are active in education and charity work. There are now Quaker groups in many countries around the world. Many famous businesses in Britain and the US were started by Quakers. They include the Quaker Oats Company, the chocolate firms of Cadbury, Fry and Rowntree, and Barclays and Lloyds banks. See related entries: Religious people, Types of belief Word Originfrom quake + -er, perhaps alluding to George Fox's direction to his followers to “tremble at the name of the Lord”, or from fits supposedly experienced by worshippers when moved by the Spirit. Compare with shakersense 2.