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dither

[dihth-er]
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noun
  1. a trembling; vibration.
  2. a state of flustered excitement or fear.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to act irresolutely; vacillate.
  2. North England. to tremble with excitement or fear.
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Origin of dither

1640–50; variant of didder (late Middle English diddere); cf. dodder1
Related formsdith·er·er, noundith·er·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dither

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The planks at his feet had started to dither again, and practice told him that the vessel must be moving.

    The Hero of Panama

    F. S. Brereton

  • Without the stimulus of nature before him it was difficult to preserve the "dither" in the drawing, and the life has escaped.

  • There must be enough play between the vital parts to allow of some movement; "dither" is, I believe, the Scotch word for it.

  • About seventy-five per cent of the golfers who follow the usual tuition are "all of a dither."

    The Soul of Golf

    Percy Adolphus Vaile

  • Every new batch of fluff-balls drove him to a dither of vicarious maternity.

    Wilderness of Spring

    Edgar Pangborn


British Dictionary definitions for dither

dither

verb (intr)
  1. mainly British to be uncertain or indecisive
  2. mainly US to be in an agitated state
  3. to tremble, as with cold
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noun
  1. mainly British a state of indecision
  2. a state of agitation
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Derived Formsditherer, noundithery, 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

Word Origin and History for dither

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper