dither

verb
dith·er | \ ˈdi-t͟hər \
dithered; dithering\-t͟h(ə-)riŋ \

Definition of dither 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : shiver, tremble the dithering of grass —Wallace Stevens

2 : to act nervously or indecisively : vacillate dithering about what to do next There's no time to dither.

dither

noun

Definition of dither (Entry 2 of 2)

: a highly nervous, excited, or agitated state : excitement, confusion The news of her arrival had us all in a dither.

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Other words from dither

Verb

ditherer \-t͟hər-ər \ noun

Noun

dithery \ˈdi-t͟hə-rē \ adjective

Examples of dither in a Sentence

Verb

We don't have time to dither. She did not dither about what to do next.

Noun

Grandma usually gets in a dither if I don't make my weekly call. we were all in a dither while we waited for the test results
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But once in power, the DPP backed away and dithered. The Economist, "Taiwan’s president has upset both business and workers," 26 May 2018 In interwar Italy liberal governments dithered while the country slid into chaos and the two largest parties, the Socialists and Christian Democrats, were more interested in defending the interests of their particular constituencies than democracy. Sheri Berman, New York Times, "Can It Happen Here? Madeleine Albright Examines Fascism Then and Now," 20 Apr. 2018 Its pseudonymous inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, was a god in whose absence Bitcoin evangelists could only argue and dither. Gideon Lewis-kraus, WIRED, "The Blockchain: A Love Story—And a Horror Story," 18 June 2018 After a while this starts to feel like dithering, or the machinations of soap opera. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "'Disobedience': A lesbian affair in an ultra Orthodox community | Movie review," 10 May 2018 But the best and the brightest in this presidential campaign belonged to McCarthy, who’d taken on President Lyndon Johnson while RFK dithered. David Margolick, Time, "The Mysterious Woman Who Could Answer a Key Question About RFK's Legacy—If Only We Could Find Her," 5 June 2018 Yet on Twitter, there is only mealy-mouthed dithering over free speech, followed by haphazard censorship and the inevitable apologies. Nick Bilton, The Hive, "“It’s Not Up to Us What People Say”: Why We Can’t Bet on Silicon Valley to Save Us from Ourselves," 1 June 2018 The big mistake last time was to dither—containing an epidemic early is easier and cheaper and saves lives. The Economist, "How to contain an Ebola outbreak," 24 May 2018 The dithering middle-age killjoys follow the girls, and their dates, from prom to lakeside after-party to hotel bash. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "'Blockers' review: John Cena, Leslie Mann play parents out to stop a prom night sex pact," 5 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

When Julie’s old lover, Gil, now a millionaire, returns from Brazil to scoop her up, and Gwen’s stockbroker fiancé, Perry, lays out his dream of a proper suburban life, both women dither over what to do. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Royal Family of Broadway,’ This Time in Song," 5 July 2018 Instead, he and scriptwriter Taylor Sheridan (who wrote the original) dither away into subplots, including one that is ludicrously contrived and seems designed to continue the franchise. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Sicario’ sequel straddles the border," 28 June 2018 Followers have long suspected that Bey at the very least would release new music before the tour was over, so the arrival announcement promptly sent the internet into a dither. refinery29.com, "You Are Not Beyoncé. You Do Not Want To Get Paid Only In Equity.," 18 June 2018 In some ways that's a relief; you won't be tempted to dither. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Google's New Tasks App Keeps Your To-Do List Front and Center," 25 Apr. 2018 Manchester United are the only club to have made an approach for Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski while Real Madrid dither according to Kicker in Germany. SI.com, "German Report Claims Man Utd Have Made Approach for Bayern Star as Real Madrid Drop Interest," 12 Mar. 2018 In this telling, corporate America has taken action on gay rights, gun control, climate change, and the minimum wage—all while Congress dithers. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Rise of Corporate Social Responsibility," 6 Mar. 2018 The American steel industry has suffered as the market floods with imports, forcing prices down, all while the Administration dithers and delays over tariffs. Time, "Why Trump’s ‘Forgotten Man’ Still Supports Him," 15 Feb. 2018 Intercutting scenes of Jen’s moral dithering with scenes in which Waiter and Manager dither emotionally, the playwright convincingly suggests a world in which only evil is decisive. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: Hipsters Double-Check Their Privilege in ‘Cute Activist’," 15 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dither.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dither

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1819, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for dither

Verb

Middle English didderen

Noun

see dither entry 1

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Time Traveler for dither

The first known use of dither was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for dither

dither

verb

English Language Learners Definition of dither

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to delay taking action because you are not sure about what to do

dither

noun

English Language Learners Definition of dither (Entry 2 of 2)

: a very nervous, confused, or excited state

dither

noun
dith·er | \ ˈdi-t͟hər \

Kids Definition of dither

: a very nervous or excited state The bride's parents were all in a dither.

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Comments on dither

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