jit·​ter | \ ˈji-tər How to pronounce jitter (audio) \

Definition of jitter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 jitters plural : a sense of panic or extreme nervousness had a bad case of the jitters before his performance
2 : the state of mind or the movement of one that jitters
3 : irregular random movement (as of a pointer or an image on a television screen) also : vibratory motion


jittered; jittering; jitters

Definition of jitter (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to make continuous fast repetitive movements
2 : to be nervous or act in a nervous way

Examples of jitter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The detailed road map eased investor jitters over the prospects for the company’s main source of profit after months of damaging revelations. BostonGlobe.com, "Most read on BostonGlobe.com," 12 Nov. 2019 The day’s trading volume was 6.4 times the average for the previous 30 days and the third-highest of 2019, hinting at investors’ jitters. Glenn Peoples, Billboard, "Live Nation Lost $1.8B in Market Capitalization in Just Three Days. Why?," 11 Nov. 2019 Nervous jitters coursed through her body, leftovers from the stressful rappelling. Heather Balogh Rochfort, The Know, "Why women-only adventure travel is surging," 31 Aug. 2019 Obviously, imposing taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products that are bought and sold in the US—and firing off rate hikes via Twitter—is bound to give people jitters and have a deleterious effect on the economy. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "These China-made goods will soon cost more thanks to Trump’s tariffs," 31 Aug. 2019 Working out the kinks Credit first-game jitters in the Clash of the Causeway on Friday. Adam Coleman, Houston Chronicle, "Friday night highlights: Lightning strikes, again," 30 Aug. 2019 Whether down to jitters, a lack of chemistry, or a desire to play it safe for the end-game, there was a palpable lack of authentic personalities, narrators and perhaps even real-deal fun. Kate Samuelson, Time, "CBS Renewed Love Island Despite Lackluster Ratings. Can the Show Find its Happily Ever After in Season Two?," 12 Aug. 2019 This was that kind of mismatch, once the Ducks conquered their first-quarter jitters and hung four unanswered touchdowns on Nevada in the first half’s final 8:28. oregonlive, "Goe: The Oregon Ducks leave no question while pounding overmatched Nevada," 8 Sep. 2019 Standout performers After shaking its jitters from last week, the Jaguars took early control of the game never having to look back. Danny Shapiro, azcentral, "Arizona high school football Week 2: Game results from around the Valley," 30 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Earlier, jitters over the global economic outlook weighed on Asian trading. San Diego Union-Tribune, "European stocks recover but at mercy of US-China trade talks," 9 Oct. 2019 The bad news is that latency is a lot higher, and controller position jittered a lot while moving, especially at high speeds. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "HTC Vive Focus hands-on impressions: No-PC, no-wires VR at a too-steep price," 9 Nov. 2018 Tracking was generally good, but objects occasionally shifted or jittered. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "I tried Magic Leap and saw a flawed glimpse of mixed reality’s amazing potential," 8 Aug. 2018 This happens all the time but, in Riley's composition, the periodic black and white edges are jittered in a way that generates apparent motion. Daniel Glaser, A-LIST, "Out of Your Mind," 1 July 2018 Sure enough, the more the eyes jittered, the stronger the effect. Daniel Glaser, A-LIST, "Out of Your Mind," 1 July 2018 The fragility of investors’ appetite for Greek debt was shown in recent weeks when market jitters over Italy also led to a rise in Greek bond yields. Nektaria Stamouli, WSJ, "Eurozone Gives Greece Some Debt Relief as Bailout Nears End," 22 June 2018 Jones said this is not the first time in recent months that jitters over growing nuclear tensions have boosted sales of potassium iodide, which comes in tablet and liquid form and should be taken within hours of exposure to radiation. NBC News, "Anti-radiation drug sales skyrocket after ‘nuclear button’ tweet," 11 Jan. 2018 The effort has produced impressive growth but also jitters among trading partners who fret about the government’s harsh treatment of domestic dissidents and labor activists. Mike Ives, New York Times, "A Disappearance in Berlin Clouds a Trade Deal in Vietnam," 2 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jitter.' 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 jitter


1929, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1931, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for jitter


origin unknown

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Time Traveler for jitter

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The first known use of jitter was in 1929

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Statistics for jitter

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Jitter.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jitter. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jitter

Nglish: Translation of jitter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jitter for Arabic Speakers

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