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

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for dithering

Contemporary Examples of dithering

Historical Examples of dithering

  • "I'm all dithering," panted Hattie, as Winnie pushed her forward to try first.

  • And the white-livered accomplice is dithering with funk in there.

  • A man will no' keep on dithering for what he kens he canna' get.

    The Dop Doctor

    Clotilde Inez Mary Graves

  • His voice caught in a tight knot of strangulation; he was dithering and palsied.

  • Presently he came running out of the scullery, with the soapy water dripping from him, dithering with cold.

    Sons and Lovers

    David Herbert Lawrence

British Dictionary definitions for dithering


verb (intr)

mainly British to be uncertain or indecisive
mainly US to be in an agitated state
to tremble, as with cold


mainly British a state of indecision
a state of agitation
Derived Formsditherer, noundithery, adjective

Word Origin for dither

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 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