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

Other Words from flutter


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

Synonyms for flutter

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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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 Another day, another Megan Thee Stallion manicure that makes our hearts flutter — this time literally. Kara Nesvig, Allure, 19 July 2022 This spring in the East Village, blue and yellow flags flutter in the breeze. New York Times, 3 June 2022 The Cup, for those whose hearts don’t flutter at its mere mention, is the giant silver chalice that is awarded each spring to the winner of the National Hockey League championship. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, 16 May 2022 The giant, two-toned sequins flutter in the wind and shimmer in the sun so that the piece changes dimensions throughout the day. Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2022 As the pages magically flutter open, the viewer is drawn into Future's world. Hattie Lindert, PEOPLE.com, 7 May 2022 One butterfly starts to flutter above our group of watchful eyes—then two, then three. Sunset Magazine, 12 May 2022 An elevated version of a classic T-shirt, the top features flutter sleeves and a curved hem. Isabel Garcia, PEOPLE.com, 20 Apr. 2022 As media teams flutter around the two remaining candidates, President Emmanuel Macron and the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, the nation’s political cartoonists are out in force, ready to accentuate even the smallest slip. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Medical experts say the early cardiac activity is not an actual heartbeat but rather an initial flutter of electric movement within cells in an embryo. Meg Kinnard, ajc, 27 Jan. 2022 Medical experts say the cardiac activity is not an actual heartbeat but rather an initial flutter of electric activity within cells in an embryo. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 13 Oct. 2021 Medical experts say the cardiac activity is not an actual heartbeat but rather an initial flutter of electric activity within cells in an embryo. BostonGlobe.com, 22 Sep. 2021 One wiggle of the wand provides s natural look, while two or more delivers unexpected drama to your flutter, sans flakes or clumps. The Editors, Town & Country, 31 May 2022 Apparently butterflies, like the one unnecessarily inserted into several scenes to give a dreamlike flutter to the otherwise unyieldingly gritty texture, see in vivid color. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 6 June 2022 There's no denying the flutter and shine of the materials is a draw. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12 Mar. 2022 The room was silent — no beating hearts, ticking clocks or gnostic ravens — except for the creak of a chair and the soft flutter of a turning page. Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2022 Whereas the former is an entirely private matter, grounded in fleeting moments like the flutter at a lover’s touch, body shame is the product of social demand and taboo. Vogue, 22 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Time Traveler for flutter

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flutter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flutter. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for flutter


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

More from Merriam-Webster on flutter

Nglish: Translation of flutter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flutter for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flutter


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