[ fluht-er ]
/ ˈflʌt ər /
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See synonyms for: flutter / fluttered / fluttering on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
to cause to flutter; vibrate; agitate.
to throw into nervous or tremulous excitement; cause mental agitation; confuse.
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Origin of flutter

First recorded before 1000; Middle English floteren, Old English floterian, frequentative of flotian “to float

synonym study for flutter

2. See fly2.


flut·ter·er, nounflut·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·flut·tered, adjectiveun·flut·ter·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does flutter mean?

To flutter is to wave, flap, or toss, usually in reference to wings. The baby robin fluttered its wings as it prepared to fly from the nest for the first time.

To flutter is to move in a quick, irregular motion or to vibrate, as when a flag flutters in a small breeze. Often, the difference between flapping and fluttering is that fluttering wings move in an irregular pattern or so fast that you cannot distinguish individual flaps.

A flutter is the movement of fluttering, as in The flutter of a hummingbird’s wings is so fast that it creates a buzzing sound.

A flutter is also a figurative term that describes a moment of nervousness, such as you might feel before a big exam. Some people describe it as feeling like butterflies fluttering in their stomach. A fluttering stomach is a nervous one, perhaps feeling slightly queasy. Other people describe such a feeling as a fluttering heart, particularly when they feel nervous about someone they have romantic feelings for. This, too, is figurative.

In medicine, flutter is used literally to describe an irregular heartbeat, often in the term atrial flutter, which can cause irregular blood flow and different issues in the body. If your heart flutters and it’s not temporary nervousness, you should tell your doctor.

Example: I always get a little flutter the night before a performance.

Where does flutter come from?

The first records of the term flutter are from before the 1000s. It ultimately comes from the Old English flotian meaning “to float.” When a small animal such as a hummingbird flutters its wings, it appears to float in the air.

When audio is recorded on hard disc or tape instead of digitally, occasionally the recording table or tape that the sound is printed on can become lopsided or off balance. This causes a fluctuation in the recording speed, which occasionally speeds up or slows down the sound that is recorded. This speeding up and slowing down is called fluttering because it causes the sound, especially if it is a human voice, to rapidly become high pitched or low pitched.

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What are some other forms related to flutter?

  • flutterer (noun)
  • flutteringly (adverb)
  • unfluttered (adjective)
  • fluttery (adjective)

What are some synonyms for flutter?

What are some words that share a root or word element with flutter?

What are some words that often get used in discussing flutter?

How is flutter used in real life?

Flutter is normally used casually unless it refers to specific or scientific phrases containing the term.

Try using flutter!

Which of the following is NOT a synonym for flutter?

A. float
C. fly
D. sink

How to use flutter in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for flutter

/ (ˈflʌtə) /


Derived forms of flutter

flutterer, nounflutteringly, adverb

Word Origin for flutter

Old English floterian to float to and fro; related to German flattern; see float
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