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[jit-er] /ˈdʒɪt ər/
jitters, nervousness; a feeling of fright or uneasiness (usually preceded by the):
Every time I have to make a speech, I get the jitters.
fluctuations in the image on a television screen or in copy received by facsimile transmission, caused by interference or by momentary failures of synchronization.
verb (used without object)
to behave nervously.
Origin of jitter
1920-25; variant of chitter to shiver (Middle English chiteren), gradational variant of chatter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for jittering
Historical Examples
  • "Nobody's said a word about it," said the Citizen's Representative, jittering.

    The Pirates of Ersatz Murray Leinster
  • Don Loris, jittering, shivered next to Hoddan's grandfather.

    The Pirates of Ersatz Murray Leinster
  • Josip's hands were jittering so he jammed them into his pockets.

    Expediter Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • It took a few moments to steady her jittering thoughts enough to gain a more definite impression than that.

    Novice James H. Schmitz
  • Don Loris, jittering, displayed a sort of professional conversational charm.

    The Pirates of Ersatz Murray Leinster
  • Even as he stood there, outwardly calm but jittering internally, the Martian riders pulled up ten feet from the Earthmen.

British Dictionary definitions for jittering


(intransitive) to be anxious or nervous
the jitters, nervousness and anxiety
(electronics) small rapid variations in the amplitude or timing of a waveform arising from fluctuations in the voltage supply, mechanical vibrations, etc
Word Origin
C20: of unknown 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 jittering



"to move agitatedly," 1931, American English; see jitters. Related: Jittered; jittering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for jittering



  1. To tremble; quiver: A line of half-washed clothes jittered on a rusty wire (1931+)
  2. To be nervous; be agitated; fret: I jittered around the house, unable to concentrate on anything (1932+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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