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.
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.
  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.

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 twitched

Contemporary Examples of twitched

Historical Examples of twitched

British Dictionary definitions for twitched


  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
  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
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 twitched



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

twitched 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.
  1. 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.