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

intransitive verb

: shiver, tremble
the dithering of grassWallace Stevens
: to act nervously or indecisively : vacillate
dithering about what to do next
There's no time to dither.
ditherer noun


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: a highly nervous, excited, or agitated state : excitement, confusion
The news of her arrival had us all in a dither.
dithery 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
Recent Examples on the Web
Yulia Chaika Nadya Tolokonnikova isn’t one to dither. Corey Seymour, Vogue, 20 June 2024 She’s slipped from being a rom-com queen to leading a procedural to dithering with a shift toward action in projects that have felt increasingly dinky and downmarket, considering what she’s proven capable of. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 24 May 2024
Democrats are raising alarms that Vladimir Putin could advance on Kyiv while Congress dithers. David D. Kirkpatrick, The New Yorker, 15 Mar. 2024 And as the bodies pile up in the streets, the U.N. dithers with resolutions. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, 3 Sep. 2023 See all Example Sentences for dither 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dither.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



variant of didder in same sense (with [dr̥] > [ðr̥] as in father entry 1, gather entry 1), going back to Middle English dideren "to tremble, shiver," of imitative origin


derivative of dither entry 1

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1819, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near dither

Cite this Entry

“Dither.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dither. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
dith·​er ˈdit͟h-ər How to pronounce dither (audio)
: a highly nervous or excited state
the news had him in a dither


2 of 2 verb
dithered; dithering
: to act nervously or indecisively

More from Merriam-Webster on dither

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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