View synonyms for jitter


[ jit-er ]


  1. (the) jitters, nervousness; a feeling of fright or uneasiness:

    Every time I have to make a speech, I get the jitters.

  2. fluctuations in the image on a television screen or in copy received by facsimile transmission, caused by interference or by momentary failures of synchronization.
  3. Computers. delay or unevenness in an audio or video signal caused by inconsistency in the interval between the sending and receiving of data packets over a network connection (also used attributively):

    Using this algorithm dramatically increases throughput while reducing jitter and end-to-end delay.

    The jitter buffer collects incoming data packets and sends them on to the receiver at a consistent rate.

verb (used without object)

  1. to feel or express nervousness or behave nervously:

    There are some people who jitter about every new technology.

    As soon as I’m five minutes late coming home, my parents start jittering.

  2. to move rapidly and unevenly, often with small movements:

    My heartbeat jittered as I waited for the boss in her office.

    I watched as his expert fingers jittered across the keyboard.

  3. (of transmitted images or sounds) to undergo delayed or uneven reception:

    How can I keep the picture from jittering when I’m gaming?

    I missed parts of the meeting because my computer's audio jittered.

  4. to vary or fluctuate slightly:

    The difference between time allotted and time used will likely jitter by a day or two for each phase of your project.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cause to move or shake rapidly, often with small movements:

    We drove over a rough patch that jittered the car a bit.

    He slammed the door so hard it jittered the window blinds.

  2. Computers. to intentionally introduce slight variation or fluctuation in (digital images or sounds) in order to achieve a desired effect; stagger or offset:

    I had the program jitter the data points to avoid overlap when graphing the results.

    You can create a trailing blur behind a moving object if you jitter the object, dimming it at each successive position.


/ ˈdʒɪtə /


  1. intr to be anxious or nervous


  1. the jitters
    nervousness and anxiety
  2. electronics small rapid variations in the amplitude or timing of a waveform arising from fluctuations in the voltage supply, mechanical vibrations, etc

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Word History and Origins

Origin of jitter1

First recorded in 1920–25; variant of chitter “to shiver” ( Middle English chiteren ), modification or variant of chatter

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Word History and Origins

Origin of jitter1

C20: of unknown origin

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Example Sentences

Subatomic jitters continuously introduced tiny flaws into the inflating universe, tweaking the density of substances that would eventually become light, matter, dark matter, and more.

Hassleman showed how short-term jitters could be added to strengthen models of long-term climate change.

Hassleman’s work helped to show how the short-term jitter could be incorporated into models to understand the long-term change in climate.

All that action is a good reflection of the jitters traders are feeling.

The number of new cases increased more than 40 percent in the past week, sending jitters through the stock market, and is raising questions about whether state and local health authorities will reinstitute restrictions to slow the virus’s spread.

From mochaccino to Mary Jane, from jitter juice to joint, from java to ganja, say bye-bye barista, hello pot-ista.