• synonyms


See more synonyms for twitch on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to tug or pull at with a quick, short movement; pluck: She twitched him by the sleeve.
  2. to jerk rapidly: The rider twitched the reins a couple of times.
  3. to move (a part of the body) with a sudden, jerking motion.
  4. to pinch or pull at sharply and painfully; give a smarting pinch to; nip.
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. to move spasmodically or convulsively; jerk; jump.
  2. to give a sharp, sudden pull; tug; pluck (usually followed by at): He constantly twitched at his collar.
  3. to ache or hurt with a sharp, shooting pain; twinge: That back tooth twitches a bit.
Show More
  1. a quick, jerky movement of the body or of some part of it.
  2. involuntary, spasmodic movement of a muscle; tic: He gets a twitch in his left eye when he's nervous.
  3. a short, sudden pull or tug; jerk.
  4. a bodily or mental twinge, as of pain, conscience, etc.; pang.
  5. a loop or noose placed over the muzzle of a horse and tightened by twisting a stick or handle to which it is attached, used as a restraining device during a painful operation.
Show More

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

jerk, jiggle, blink, shudder, tremble, flutter, jump, squirm, lurch, shiver, lug, snap, kick, tic, grip, pain, beat, twinge, pluck, snatch

Examples from the Web for twitch

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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


  1. to move or cause to move in a jerky spasmodic way
  2. (tr) to pull or draw (something) with a quick jerky movement
  3. (intr) to hurt with a sharp spasmodic pain
  4. (tr) rare to nip
Show More
  1. a sharp jerking movement
  2. a mental or physical twinge
  3. a sudden muscular spasm, esp one caused by a nervous conditionCompare tic
  4. a loop of cord used to control a horse by drawing it tight about its upper lip
Show More
Derived Formstwitching, adjective, noun

Word Origin

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

twitch in Medicine


  1. To draw, pull, or move suddenly and sharply; jerk.
  2. To move jerkily or spasmodically.
  3. To ache sharply from time to time; twinge.
Show More
  1. A sudden involuntary or spasmodic muscular movement.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.