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 skittering

Contemporary Examples of skittering

  • Like so many other deeply religious young men obsessed with fighting an ideological war, his mind was skittering.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Inside the Bahrain Revolt

    Karen Leigh

    February 19, 2011

Historical Examples of skittering

  • Then he came out sideways, a skittering sort of plunge, lazy and heavy.

  • Skittering images of her zipped through his mind, only to be shoved aside.

    The Syndic

    C.M. Kornbluth

  • Then, too, the skittering may be that of some entirely different creature.

    Old Plymouth Trails

    Winthrop Packard

  • It was a tatterdemalion array that he had conjured into conclave with his skittering whoop along the hill-tops.

    When 'Bear Cat' Went Dry

    Charles Neville Buck

  • It was a shame that Devore kept him skittering round on little picayunish jobs—running errands, that was really what it was.

British Dictionary definitions for skittering



(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 skittering



"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