adjective, jit·ter·i·er, jit·ter·i·est.

extremely tense and nervous; jumpy: He's very jittery about the medical checkup.

Origin of jittery

An Americanism dating back to 1930–35; jitter + -y1
Related formsjit·ter·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jittery

Contemporary Examples of jittery

Historical Examples of jittery

  • But she was jittery as an old hen and it weren't like her nohow.

    Year of the Big Thaw

    Marion Zimmer Bradley

  • You see, it sort of riled me—I warn't used to the ways of Jittery swells.

  • Mrs. RVS started to get jittery at about ten mps away from home, and above fifteen, she was trembling steadily.


    Irving W. Lande

  • Since the Skye excitement everyone is inclined to be jittery and nerves are stretched tightly.

  • And I'll admit that I was as jittery as a hen on a hot stove until we got this Fortress off the ground, and into the air.

    Dave Dawson at Truk

    Robert Sydney Bowen

British Dictionary definitions for jittery



informal nervous and anxious
Derived Formsjitteriness, noun
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 jittery

1931, American English, from jitter + -y (2). Related: Jitteriness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper