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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dignity's face is a composite of three Native women, and her star quilt is made of 128 blue steel diamonds that flutter in the breeze. Simon Peter Groebner, Star Tribune, 23 July 2021 Forever 21 did not last forever at Stockton and Market; across the street the flags flutter bravely at Old Navy. Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 July 2021 On the grounds of the state Capitol, 7,175 small American flags now flutter, each signifying a Kentuckian who died from COVID-19. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, 22 June 2021 Small waterfalls cascade down a ravine as butterflies flutter by, the sound of trickling water providing a serene soundtrack for hikers enjoying the Hidden Waters Preserve near Eustis. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, 2 July 2021 On Sunday, green and purple ribbons flutter across the city. Ryan Yu, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 June 2021 As nature wakes up, butterflies flutter about and the danger of a virus lurks. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 13 June 2021 Alongside headstones honoring hundreds of the fallen who hailed from South Carolina, little flags flutter in the late spring breeze, each marked with the date - May 20, 1861 - when the state seceded from the Union. Marc Fisher, Anchorage Daily News, 30 May 2021 However, the piece feels like a joyous return to ballet, as the dancers flutter about in ecru tutus. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 26 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Wolves fans on social media have been all a flutter about the possibility of acquiring Ben Simmons from the 76ers. Chris Hine, Star Tribune, 6 July 2021 Shoppers like the sweet flutter sleeves and the cute frill detailing at the bottom too. Sanah Faroke, Southern Living, 24 June 2021 After a flutter of calls with ESPN and the league, a film was born. Alexa Philippou, courant.com, 11 May 2021 When O’Connell speaks, his hands sweep, flutter and slash. Justin Kaneps, WSJ, 30 May 2021 Advanced technology can detect an electric signal flutter as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, even though the embryo isn’t yet a fetus and doesn’t have a heart. BostonGlobe.com, 19 May 2021 Advanced technology can detect an electric signal flutter as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, even though the embryo isn’t yet a fetus and doesn’t have a heart. Paul J. Weber, chicagotribune.com, 19 May 2021 It’s made with a lightweight polyester fabric, which is perfect for warm temperatures, and has short flutter sleeves that people love. Sanah Faroke, Southern Living, 8 May 2021 If the audience effect is driven by predation, then the researchers would expect to see more of the whisperlike flutter call when fighters are alone and the ready-to-rumble squeal when other birds are present. Rachel Nuwer, Scientific American, 6 May 2021

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.

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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 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flutter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flutter. Accessed 3 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for flutter



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

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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