flut·​ter | \ ˈflə-tər How to pronounce flutter (audio) \
fluttered; fluttering; flutters

Definition of flutter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to flap the wings rapidly butterflies fluttering among the flowers
2a : to move with quick wavering or flapping motions a sail fluttering in the wind
b : to vibrate in irregular spasms his heart fluttered
3 : to move about or behave in an agitated aimless manner She nervously fluttered around the office.

transitive verb

: to cause to flutter The bird was fluttering its wings.



Definition of flutter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of fluttering
2a : a state of nervous confusion or excitement
c : abnormal spasmodic fluttering of a body part treatment of atrial flutter
3a : a distortion in reproduced sound similar to but of a higher pitch than wow
b : fluctuation in the brightness of a television image
4 : an unwanted oscillation (as of an aileron or a bridge) set up by natural forces
5 chiefly British : a small speculative venture or gamble

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from flutter


flutterer \ ˈflə-​tər-​ər How to pronounce flutterer (audio) \ noun
fluttery \ ˈflə-​tər-​ē How to pronounce fluttery (audio) \ adjective

Examples of flutter in a Sentence

Verb The bird was fluttering its wings. The bird's wings were fluttering. We watched the butterflies fluttering in the garden. Leaves fluttered to the ground. The breeze made the curtains flutter. The breeze fluttered the curtains. She fluttered her eyelashes at him. She nervously fluttered around the office. Noun With a flutter of wings, the birds settled into the nest. The flutter of the flame cast shadows on the ceiling. He was in a flutter until he found his keys. The news of her resignation caused quite a flutter. have a flutter on a horse in the second race
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Along Bardstown Road, white cloths flutter in the breeze on tables outside Seviche, an upscale restaurant. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "'Go slow, follow the rules': Kentucky continues to reopen but COVID-19 threat remains," 20 June 2020 Christopher Carter, 17, Spanish Fort: The young man from Spanish Fort extended his arms and allowed his Black Lives Matter flag to flutter in the breeze at a protest in Mobile on Sunday. Connor Sheets | Csheets@al.com, al, "‘We want change’: Voices from the front lines of Alabama’s protests," 5 June 2020 In a forlorn scene, a gardener tended to the parched grass around the small monument for the war dead, while Pottier, the local mayor, was getting the French tricolor to flutter next to the Stars and Stripes. Fox News, "On sad anniversary, few to mourn the D-Day dead in Normandy," 5 June 2020 The colors flutter and dance with the pulse of each sign. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "When stay at home ends: This Arizona neon sign park glows nightly. Here's how to see it," 20 Apr. 2020 And his eyes fluttered closed as the cymbal shivered and the piano plunked its final note. Dallas News, "Art and the City: Dallas writers are embracing their newfound solitude ... and singing to their cats," 5 Apr. 2020 But as laughter gave way to talk about their fears, her heart fluttered. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Of ‘Covidivorces’ and ‘Coronababies’: Life During a Lockdown," 27 Mar. 2020 Does your heart flutter when Kylie Jenner shows off her collection of Hermès Birkins? Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Alexander McQueen’s “Story” Bag Is Kaia Gerber and Selena Gomez’s New Fave," 4 Dec. 2019 And then the birds flutter over the audience’s head. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, "SeaWorld Orlando: Christmas shows feature animals, skaters, songs," 26 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The muscles in his neck flutter sporadically; his head lolls from side to side. Brian Barrett, Wired, "My Friend Was Struck by ALS. Here’s How He’s Fighting Back," 23 June 2020 The flutter sleeves add a playful touch for a polished-yet-casual summer staple. NBC News, "Best summer dresses to shop in 2020, according to experts," 22 June 2020 There’s not a bad vehicle in that group, but also precious little to make your heart flutter, whether behind the wheel or walking up to it on the street. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Mazda CX-30 is a small SUV you'll love for fun and style and price and practicality," 4 June 2020 Moving him to quarantine’ Twice in February, Papa was hospitalized with an atrial flutter. Brad Townsend, Dallas News, "A painfully long farewell to Papa," 23 Apr. 2020 Changes in the relative lengths of the arms reveal when a gravitational wave flutters past Earth, stretching and squeezing space-time. Quanta Magazine, "To Make the Perfect Mirror, Physicists Confront the Mystery of Glass," 2 Apr. 2020 Where Afro-Guyanese are the main group, the green-and-yellow banners of the ruling coalition flutter. The Economist, "A scoring opportunity Ahead of oil riches, Guyana holds a decisive election," 27 Feb. 2020 After two unexplained miscarriages, the flutter on the screen at Sherisa’s obstetrician’s office about seven weeks into her third pregnancy was a welcome sight. NBC News, "Many miscarriages are still a mystery. A new test could give women faster answers.," 10 Feb. 2020 The dinner menu at Gasthof Zauner will make a seafood lover’s heart flutter, featuring fish caught fresh from Lake Hallstatt. Danielle Page, National Geographic, "Why is this Bronze Age town so popular today?," 4 Nov. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of flutter


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flutter

Verb and Noun

Middle English floteren to float, flutter, from Old English floterian, frequentative of flotian to float; akin to Old English flēotan to float — more at fleet

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about flutter

Time Traveler for flutter

Time Traveler

The first known use of flutter was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for flutter

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flutter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flutter. Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for flutter


How to pronounce flutter (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of flutter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move or flap the wings quickly without flying
: to fly lightly with quick beats of the wings
: to move with quick, light movements



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

: a quick, light movement
: a state of excitement or confusion
British, informal : a small bet


flut·​ter | \ ˈflə-tər How to pronounce flutter (audio) \
fluttered; fluttering

Kids Definition of flutter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move the wings rapidly without flying or in making short flights Butterflies fluttered over the garden.
2 : to move with a quick flapping motion Flags fluttered in the wind.
3 : to move about excitedly Salesclerks fluttered about the store.



Kids Definition of flutter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act of moving or flapping quickly a flutter of wings
2 : a state of excitement The contestants were all in a flutter.


flut·​ter | \ ˈflət-ər How to pronounce flutter (audio) \

Medical Definition of flutter

: an abnormal rapid spasmodic and usually rhythmic motion or contraction of a body part diaphragmatic flutter affected with ventricular flutter

Other Words from flutter

flutter intransitive verb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on flutter

What made you want to look up flutter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!