dither

verb
dith·​er | \ ˈdi-t͟hər How to pronounce dither (audio) \
dithered; dithering\ -​t͟h(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce dithering (audio) \

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 \ ˈdi-​t͟hər-​ər How to pronounce ditherer (audio) \ noun

Noun

dithery \ ˈdi-​t͟hə-​rē How to pronounce dithery (audio) \ 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 As central banks around the world race to cut interest rates, this is no time for the ECB to dither. Washington Post, "Mario Draghi Reaches Again for the Bond-Buying Bazooka," 9 Sep. 2019 In the lulls between waves here on a recent weekday morning, dozens of nine-foot longboards floated like driftwood as the slate gray glass of the late-summer Atlantic dithered into cords. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "Steeped in Hawaiian History, Longboarding Rides an Instagram Wave," 10 Sep. 2019 As Clinton dithered, a hundred thousand people died. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Moral Logic of Humanitarian Intervention," 9 Sep. 2019 For months his government dithered instead of organising the referendum for the Sidama. The Economist, "Ethnic separatists are challenging Ethiopia’s unity," 25 July 2019 Fan Pier, considered one of the Seaport’s most desirable parcels, had been tied up for years in litigation and dithering before it was finally sold to Boston developer Joe Fallon. Shirley Leung, BostonGlobe.com, "Can the new Suffolk Downs avoid the mistakes of the Seaport District?," 5 Sep. 2019 As firearm deaths ticked up and Congress dithered, many nonprofits, universities, and states have devoted resources to fill in the glaring gap left by the lack of federal funds. Wired, "The CDC Could Totally Study Gun Violence—It Just Needs Money," 7 Aug. 2019 Perot was the first billionaire businessman to describe Washington as cesspool of dithering careerists who spent tax dollars foolishly and cut ruinous trade deals at the expense of blue collar workers, a theme that may sound familiar. Major Garrett, CBS News, "Analysis: What's missing from the Ross Perot obituaries," 11 July 2019 So far, however, American regulators and lawmakers have mostly dithered over how to tackle the thorny issues surrounding the emergence of cryptocurrencies, like protecting consumers and keeping out criminals. John Harney, Fortune, "‘Little Standing or Dependability:’ Trump Lashes Out at Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency," 12 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To keep migrants comfortable while Democrats in Congress dither on humanitarian aid, the Trump Admin bought bedroom furniture from Wayfair. NBC News, "Wayfair workers walkout to protest company's furniture sale to migrant detention center," 26 June 2019 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 To do less or to dither rather than decide is to shirk our duty and betray the public’s trust. Gov. Butch Otter, idahostatesman, "Idaho Gov. Butch Otter | Read full 2018 State of the State | Idaho Statesman," 8 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 and Noun

Middle English didderen

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Statistics for dither

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce dither (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of dither

 (Entry 1 of 2)

informal : 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)

informal : a very nervous, confused, or excited state

dither

noun
dith·​er | \ ˈdi-t͟hər How to pronounce dither (audio) \

Kids Definition of dither

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on dither

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dither

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dither

Spanish Central: Translation of dither

Nglish: Translation of dither for Spanish Speakers

Comments on dither

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