verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)


Origin of twitch

1125–75; Middle English twicchen (v.); akin to Old English twiccian to pluck; cognate with German zwicken to pinch
Related formstwitch·er, nountwitch·ing·ly, adverbun·twitched, adjectiveun·twitch·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for twitch

Contemporary Examples of twitch

Historical Examples of twitch

  • He gave a twitch of his fingers upon the reins, and turned from the trail to investigate.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • John looked after him without so much as a twitch in a single nerve of his face.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • Unconsciously he had betrayed himself in a despair of voice and twitch of movement.

    Mixed Faces

    Roy Norton

  • Then her eyes began to blaze and her lips to twitch spasmodically.

    The Masked Bridal

    Mrs. Georgie Sheldon

  • The still head began to rock, the throat to swell, the lips to twitch.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

British Dictionary definitions for twitch



to move or cause to move in a jerky spasmodic way
(tr) to pull or draw (something) with a quick jerky movement
(intr) to hurt with a sharp spasmodic pain
(tr) rare to nip


a sharp jerking movement
a mental or physical twinge
a sudden muscular spasm, esp one caused by a nervous conditionCompare tic
a loop of cord used to control a horse by drawing it tight about its upper lip
Derived Formstwitching, adjective, noun

Word Origin for twitch

Old English twiccian to pluck; related to Old High German zwecchōn to pinch, Dutch twicken
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 twitch

late 12c., to-twic-chen "pull apart with a quick jerk," related to Old English twiccian "to pluck," from Proto-Germanic *twikjonan (cf. Low German twicken, Dutch twikken, Old High German gizwickan, German zwicken "to pinch, tweak"). Related: Twitched; twitching. The noun is attested from 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

twitch in Medicine




To draw, pull, or move suddenly and sharply; jerk.
To move jerkily or spasmodically.
To ache sharply from time to time; twinge.


A sudden involuntary or spasmodic muscular movement.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.