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[skit-er] /ˈskɪt ər/
verb (used without object)
to go, run, or glide lightly or rapidly.
to skim along a surface.
Angling. to draw a lure or a baited hook over the water with a skipping motion.
verb (used with object)
to cause to skitter.
Origin of skitter
1835-45; skit, variant of skite1 + -er6 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for skittering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then he came out sideways, a skittering sort of plunge, lazy and heavy.

    Tales of Fishes Zane Grey
  • skittering images of her zipped through his mind, only to be shoved aside.

    The Syndic C.M. Kornbluth
  • Then, too, the skittering may be that of some entirely different creature.

    Old Plymouth Trails Winthrop Packard
  • It was a tatterdemalion array that he had conjured into conclave with his skittering whoop along the hill-tops.

    When 'Bear Cat' Went Dry Charles Neville Buck
  • It was a shame that Devore kept him skittering round on little picayunish jobs—running errands, that was really what it was.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
  • With a swish he is gone, and unless I hear the skittering of tiny feet a rod away I may not tell in what direction or how.

    Old Plymouth Trails Winthrop Packard
  • So the eye, skittering across the water, leaps promptly and cleanly to blue ranges by the Sound, a couple of miles away.

    Plum Pudding

    Christopher Morley
  • Pop made his way toward it in the skittering, skating gait one uses in one-sixth gravity.

    Scrimshaw William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • The tiny life-raft dropped toward it, skittering nervously as it hit the thin atmosphere.

    The Legion of Lazarus Edmond Hamilton
British Dictionary definitions for skittering


(intransitive) often foll by off. to move or run rapidly or lightly; scamper
to skim or cause to skim lightly and rapidly, as across the surface of water
(intransitive) (angling) to draw a bait lightly over the surface of water
Word Origin
C19: probably from dialect skite to dash about; related to Old Norse skjōta to shoot
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 skittering



"to run rapidly," 1845, frequentative of skite "to dart, run quickly" (1721), perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse skjota "to shoot, launch, move quickly, avoid (a blow)," or Norwegian dialectal skutla "glide rapidly"); see skittish. As a noun from 1905.

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



To move about rapidly; scamper: where the poor skitter around the doll's house on the hill like so many rats among garbage (1845+)

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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