verb (used without object)

to go, run, or glide lightly or rapidly.
to skim along a surface.
Angling. to draw a lure or a baited hook over the water with a skipping motion.

verb (used with object)

to cause to skitter.

Origin of skitter

1835–45; skit, variant of skite1 + -er6 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skitter

Historical Examples of skitter

  • Skitter and spit dust—use it all, but keep us clear for three minutes!

    The Butterfly Kiss

    Arthur Dekker Savage

  • I saw Daniel the Mystic scramble to his feet and skitter about.

    Back Home

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • He came up at once, and with two-thirds of his body out of the water he began to skitter toward us.

  • Moving another notch down caused the picture to skitter back and forth on the screen.

    The Time Traders

    Andre Norton

  • He divided with me, told me to fasten one upon the end of my line and skitter it over the water.

British Dictionary definitions for skitter



(intr often foll by off) to move or run rapidly or lightly; scamper
to skim or cause to skim lightly and rapidly, as across the surface of water
(intr) angling to draw a bait lightly over the surface of water

Word Origin for skitter

C19: probably from dialect skite to dash about; related to Old Norse skjōta to shoot
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 skitter

"to run rapidly," 1845, frequentative of skite "to dart, run quickly" (1721), perhaps from a Scandinavian source (cf. Old Norse skjota "to shoot, launch, move quickly, avoid (a blow)," or Norwegian dialectal skutla "glide rapidly"); see skittish. As a noun from 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper