shaky or trembling, as from old age; tottering: a doddering old man.

Also dod·der·y [dod-uh-ree] /ˈdɒd ə ri/.

Origin of doddering

First recorded in 1735–45; dodder1 + -ing2



verb (used without object)

to shake; tremble; totter.

Origin of dodder

1610–20; cf. dither, totter, teeter, etc.
Related formsdod·der·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for doddering

Contemporary Examples of doddering

  • A living, doddering Lee was far less useful to the pitchfork crowd than a hanged, virile Lee would have been.

    The Daily Beast logo
    More South-Bashing!

    Michael Tomasky

    May 28, 2013

  • The doddering quality of the entire Reagan presidency certainly gave rise to that notion.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Loving France Again

    Eric Alterman

    April 14, 2009

Historical Examples of doddering

  • That I'm either as big a liar as he says you are or a fool—a doddering fool.

    Frenzied Finance

    Thomas W. Lawson

  • The doddering in the case was not confined to that individual.

    Pickwickian Studies

    Percy Fitzgerald

  • There also, as at Terracina, ancient and doddering men acted as chambermaids.

    A Tramp's Notebook

    Morley Roberts

  • But as soon as he confronted the doddering and blinking toper, he was helpless.

    Excuse Me!

    Rupert Hughes

  • I'll have the flat of my sword at your hinder quarters for a doddering void-pate!

    The Red Tavern

    Charles Raymond Macauley

British Dictionary definitions for doddering



shaky, feeble, or infirm, esp from old age



verb (intr)

to move unsteadily; totter
to shake or tremble, as from age
Derived Formsdodderer, noundoddery, adjective

Word Origin for dodder

C17: variant of earlier dadder; related to Norwegian dudra to tremble




any rootless parasitic plant of the convolvulaceous genus Cuscuta, lacking chlorophyll and having slender twining stems with suckers for drawing nourishment from the host plant, scalelike leaves, and whitish flowers

Word Origin for dodder

C13: of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch, Middle Low German dodder, Middle High German toter
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 doddering



1610s, perhaps from Middle English daderen "to quake, tremble" (late 15c.), apparently frequentative of dialectal dade, on a form similar to totter, patter. Related: Doddered; doddering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper