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[dihth -er] /ˈdɪð ər/
a trembling; vibration.
a state of flustered excitement or fear.
verb (used without object)
to act irresolutely; vacillate.
North England. to tremble with excitement or fear.
Origin of dither
late Middle English
1640-50; variant of didder (late Middle English diddere); cf. dodder1
Related forms
ditherer, noun
dithery, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for dithering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Tom stood watching the ambulance whisk Murell off, dithering in indecision.

    Four-Day Planet Henry Beam Piper
  • A man will no' keep on dithering for what he kens he canna' get.

    The Dop Doctor Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
  • Presently he came running out of the scullery, with the soapy water dripping from him, dithering with cold.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • And the white-livered accomplice is dithering with funk in there.

    Ambrotox and Limping Dick Oliver Fleming
  • "I'm all dithering," panted Hattie, as Winnie pushed her forward to try first.

British Dictionary definitions for dithering


verb (intransitive)
(mainly Brit) to be uncertain or indecisive
(mainly US) to be in an agitated state
to tremble, as with cold
(mainly Brit) a state of indecision
a state of agitation
Derived Forms
ditherer, noun
dithery, adjective
Word Origin
C17: variant of C14 (northern English dialect) didder, of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dithering



1640s, "to quake, tremble," phonetic variant of Middle English didderen (late 14c.), of uncertain origin. The sense of "vacillate, be anxious" is from 1819. Related: Dithered; dithering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dithering in Technology

data, algorithm
A technique used in quantisation processes such as graphics and audio to reduce or remove the correlation between noise and signal.
Dithering is used in computer graphics to create additional colors and shades from an existing palette by interspersing pixels of different colours. On a monochrome display, areas of grey are created by varying the proportion of black and white pixels. In colour displays and printers, colours and textures are created by varying the proportions of existing colours. The different colours can either be distributed randomly or regularly. The higher the resolution of the display, the smoother the dithered colour will appear to the eye.
Dithering doesn't reduce resolution. There are three types: regular dithering which uses a very regular predefined pattern; random dither where the pattern is a random noise; and pseudo random dither which uses a very large, very regular, predefined pattern.
Dithering is used to create patterns for use as backgrounds, fills and shading, as well as for creating halftones for printing. When used for printing is it very sensitive to paper properties. Dithering can be combined with rasterising. It is not related to anti-aliasing.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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