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

That seems a better use of our time than dithering about, say, which running shoe to buy. Maya Singer, Vogue, "Is There Really Such a Thing as “Ethical Consumerism?”," 4 Feb. 2019 In the middle is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, dithering between his green supporters and his desire to placate Alberta and keep its money flowing. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Green Politics and Global Instability," 22 Jan. 2019 In typical fashion, Ms. Merkel dithered forcefully through several party elections, hinting that the snafu would be fixed at the expense of German auto makers, not taxpayers or car owners. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "The Lessons of ‘Dieselgate’," 4 Jan. 2019 Quality candidates are dithering Given these geographic realities, there is simply no easy path to a Senate majority for Democrats. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Democrats need some 2020 Senate candidates," 6 Dec. 2018 But for some reason the Trump administration is dithering. David Mcintosh, WSJ, "No New Nafta Until Tariffs Have Been Lifted," 9 Dec. 2018 That changed as state officials dithered last year over evacuating residents below Oroville Dam in Butte County, The Associated Press reported after obtaining notes from a dramatic meeting of top authorities. Paul Elias, The Seattle Times, "Back-to-back crises boost California sheriff’s profile," 28 Nov. 2018 In addition to unleashing a patriotic flood, Mr. Putin would undoubtedly hope to expose the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as dithering and ineffectual. Leon Aron, WSJ, "Russian Pensions and the Risk of War," 16 Oct. 2018 Congress dithered on supporting the commercial crew program, and then once SpaceX and Boeing were properly funded, those companies ran into the inevitable technical issues that arise with spacecraft. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "On Thursday a rocket failed. Three humans remain on the ISS. What’s next?," 11 Oct. 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 and Noun

Middle English didderen

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Statistics for dither

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dither

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dither

Spanish Central: Translation of dither

Nglish: Translation of dither for Spanish Speakers

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