jitters, nervousness; a feeling of fright or uneasiness (usually preceded by the): Every time I have to make a speech, I get the jitters.
fluctuations in the image on a television screen or in copy received by facsimile transmission, caused by interference or by momentary failures of synchronization.

verb (used without object)

to behave nervously.

Origin of jitter

1920–25; variant of chitter to shiver (Middle English chiteren), gradational variant of chatter
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jittering

Historical Examples of jittering

  • "Nobody's said a word about it," said the Citizen's Representative, jittering.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

  • Don Loris, jittering, shivered next to Hoddan's grandfather.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

  • Josip's hands were jittering so he jammed them into his pockets.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • It took a few moments to steady her jittering thoughts enough to gain a more definite impression than that.


    James H. Schmitz

  • Don Loris, jittering, displayed a sort of professional conversational charm.

    The Pirates of Ersatz

    Murray Leinster

British Dictionary definitions for jittering



(intr) to be anxious or nervous


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

Word Origin for jitter

C20: of unknown origin
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 jittering



"to move agitatedly," 1931, American English; see jitters. Related: Jittered; jittering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper