[ jit-er-buhg ]
/ ˈdʒɪt ərˌbʌg /


a strenuously acrobatic dance consisting of a few standardized steps augmented by twirls, splits, somersaults, etc., popular especially in the early 1940s and performed chiefly to boogie-woogie and swing.
a person who dances the jitterbug.

verb (used without object), jit·ter·bugged, jit·ter·bug·ging.

to dance the jitterbug.

Nearby words

Origin of jitterbug

An Americanism dating back to 1930–35; jitter + bug1
Related formsjit·ter·bug·ger, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jitterbug

British Dictionary definitions for jitterbug


/ (ˈdʒɪtəˌbʌɡ) /


a fast jerky American dance, usually to a jazz accompaniment, that was popular in the 1940s
a person who dances the jitterbug
a highly nervous or excitable person

verb -bugs, -bugging or -bugged

(intr) to perform such a dance
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 jitterbug



popular type of fast swing dance, 1938, American English, from "Jitter Bug," title of a song recorded by Cab Calloway in 1934. Probably the literal sense is "one who has the jitters" (see jitters; also cf. bug (n.)). Another sense current about this time was "swing music enthusiast." As a verb from 1938.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper