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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Everyone flutters around, stealing green beans straight from the pan, and slamming cabinet drawers as plates and glasses are brought out. Alex Pastron, Bon Appétit, "I Can’t Be With My Family for Dinner, But at Least This Chef Lets Me Join His," 24 Apr. 2020 Any ground meat or version of chicken breasts is fluttering out the door in bulk packs as citizens run to fill freezers. Nick Rallo, Dallas News, "Need toilet paper? Restaurants are evolving into general stores, offering eggs, meat and other grocery essentials," 25 Mar. 2020 Tyler Bozak fluttering shot got behind Rask just past the midway point of the period, but Charlie McAvoy deftly tapped it out of the air and out of danger. Matt Vautour | Mvautour@masslive.com, cleveland, "Stanley Cup Final 2019: Boston Bruins force Game 7, beat St. Louis Blues, 5-1," 9 June 2019 Elsewhere, Lupita Nyong'o kept things simple and matched a set of fluttering cobalt lashes to her 3-D Calvin Klein By Appointment gown. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "The Best Beauty Looks from The 2019 Golden Globes," 7 Jan. 2019 Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar leaves almost takes away my breath; yet, like the lake, my serenity is rippled but not ruffled. David Wallace, The New Yorker, "What the Wind Can Teach Us," 26 Feb. 2020 Rolfe forced the first of Pine Creek’s two interceptions with a swim move and quarterback hit in the first half, the fluttering pass grabbed by linebacker Asa Gomez near midfield. Matt Schubert, The Denver Post, "“No better way to do it”: Pine Creek defense shuts down Broomfield to claim 4A title," 7 Dec. 2019 In fact, it initially could be mistaken for an enchanting Walt Disney number as the troubled star sings good morning to the busy buzzy bees and handsome garden ants over a fluttering classical score. Jon O'brien, Billboard, "Say Goodbye to 'BoJack Horseman' With Its 10 Greatest Songs," 23 Oct. 2019 A month after an outpatient plastic surgery procedure, the Detroit native's eyes fluttered open. USA Today, "When plastic surgery goes wrong, patients are left to pay for uninsured doctors’ mistakes," 13 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Each drop of the rod puts slack in the line, which lets the Senko seduce bass with a horizontal fall and flutter. John Merwin, Field & Stream, "Senko Tactics: Catch Huge Spring Bass Wacky-Style or Weighted," 22 May 2019 The fish are typically found around shell bars downlake at depths of 12 to 25 feet, and are caught on deep running crankbaits, football jigs or flutter spoons. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday Fishing Report: Plenty of good fishing during holidays," 20 Dec. 2019 Her shiny, capricious flutter dresses have become the go-to for celebrities trying to channel a haute Lolita vibe. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Holiday Gift Guide: How to Channel Your Inner Maximalist," 6 Dec. 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.

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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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Statistics for flutter

Last Updated

30 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Flutter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flutter. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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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

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