verb (used without object)

to move about restlessly, nervously, or impatiently.

verb (used with object)

to cause to fidget; make uneasy.


Often fidgets. the condition or an instance of being nervously restless, uneasy, or impatient.
Also fidg·et·er. a person who fidgets.

Origin of fidget

1665–75; compare dial. fidge to fidget, akin to the synonymous expressive words fitch, fig, fike; compare Old Norse fīkjast to be eager, Old Swedish fīkja to be restless
Related formsfidg·et·ing·ly, adverbun·fidg·et·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fidgeting

Contemporary Examples of fidgeting

  • The video, which played on Peruvian television, shows a very nervous Van der Sloot chain smoking and fidgeting in his chair.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Is Van der Sloot’s Confession Genuine?

    Barbie Latza Nadeau

    September 28, 2011

  • We know that thin people spend more of their days standing, walking, and even “fidgeting” than do overweight individuals.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Do Your Genes Make You Fat?

    Arthur Agatston, M.D.

    January 4, 2010

Historical Examples of fidgeting

  • After fidgeting a moment he added, "Well, I cal'late I'll have to be goin' now."

    Thankful's Inheritance

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • It was half-past seven when he returned and found Azuba fidgeting in the dining-room.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • And whichever they say I shall keep on fidgeting until I see what happens after that.


    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • She had set down the knitting, and was fidgeting, first with her cap and then her apron.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • Archie had been fidgeting in his chair––hardly able to command his politeness.

British Dictionary definitions for fidgeting



(intr) to move about restlessly
(intr often foll by with) to make restless or uneasy movements (with something); fiddlehe fidgeted with his pen
(tr) to cause to fidget
(tr) to cause to worry; make uneasy


(often plural) a state of restlessness or unease, esp as expressed in continual motionhe's got the fidgets
a person who fidgets
Derived Formsfidgetingly, adverbfidgety, adjective

Word Origin for fidget

C17: from earlier fidge, probably from Old Norse fīkjast to desire eagerly
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 fidgeting



1670s (implied in fidgetting); see fidget (n.). Related: Fidgeted.



1670s, as the fidget "uneasiness," later the fidgets, from a 16c. verb fidge "move restlessly," perhaps from Middle English fiken "to fidget, hasten," from Old Norse fikjask "to desire eagerly" (cf. German ficken "to move about briskly;" see fuck).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper