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.


Origin of flutter

before 1000; Middle English floteren, Old English floterian, frequentative of flotian to float
Related formsflut·ter·er, nounflut·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·flut·tered, adjectiveun·flut·ter·ing, adjective

Synonyms for flutter

2. See fly1. 10. flurry, twitter, stir, dither.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for flutter

Contemporary Examples of flutter

Historical Examples of flutter

  • When K. insisted on carrying her upstairs, she went in a flutter.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • The flutter of the departing skirt, as he came into the room, assured him it was one of these.

  • And he was not even quite sure that there had been a flutter.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Miss Perry sat down in the teacher's chair, her heart all in a flutter.

  • He was roused from his flutter of satisfaction by hearing Mr. Burrows' voice.

British Dictionary definitions for flutter



to wave or cause to wave rapidly; flap
(intr) (of birds, butterflies, etc) to flap the wings
(intr) to move, esp downwards, with an irregular motion
(intr) pathol (of the auricles of the heart) to beat abnormally rapidly, esp in a regular rhythm
to be or make nervous or restless
(intr) to move about restlessly
swimming to cause (the legs) to move up and down in a flutter kick or (of the legs) to move in this way
(tr) British informal to wager or gamble (a small amount of money)


a quick flapping or vibrating motion
a state of nervous excitement or confusion
excited interest; sensation; stir
British informal a modest bet or wager
pathol an abnormally rapid beating of the auricles of the heart (200 to 400 beats per minute), esp in a regular rhythm, sometimes resulting in heart block
electronics a slow variation in pitch in a sound-reproducing system, similar to wow but occurring at higher frequencies
a potentially dangerous oscillation of an aircraft, or part of an aircraft, caused by the interaction of aerodynamic forces, structural elastic reactions, and inertia
swimming See flutter kick
Also called: flutter tonguing music a method of sounding a wind instrument, esp the flute, with a rolling movement of the tongue
Derived Formsflutterer, 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

Word Origin and History for flutter

Old English floterian "to flutter, fly, flicker, float to and fro, be tossed by waves," frequentative of flotian "to float" (see float (v.)). Related: Fluttered; fluttering. As a noun from 1640s; meaning "state of excitement" is 1740s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for flutter




Abnormally rapid pulsation, especially of the atria or ventricles of the heart.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.