in a dither


Also, all of a dither; in a flutter or tizzy. In a state of tremulous agitation, as in Planning the wedding put her in a dither, or He tried to pull himself together, but he was all of a dither, or She showed up in such a flutter that our meeting was useless. The noun dither dates from the early 1800s and goes back to the Middle English verb didderen, “to tremble”; in a flutter dates from the mid-1700s; in a tizzy dates from about 1930 and is of uncertain origin.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.