jit·​ter | \ ˈji-tər \

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

For locals, the road to recovery is more than just shaking off the post-earthquake jitters. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Lombok Earthquake Kills 100, Strands Tourists on Indonesian Islands," 6 Aug. 2018 Being less reliant on consumer demand helped shield Microsoft from holiday season turbulence and U.S.-China trade war jitters affecting Apple and other tech companies. Matt O'brien, The Seattle Times, "Apple’s stock sours, Microsoft’s soars. Say what?!," 27 Nov. 2018 The slump was driven by several factors, including trade jitters and doubts on the staying power of Wall Street’s long bull run. Alex Leary, WSJ, "Business Lobby Gaining a Voice Amid Pressure for U.S.-China Trade Peace," 9 Jan. 2019 But the president blames the Fed primarily for the recent market downturn, and rejects the notion that any of his policies—particularly on trade—may have contributed to the market jitters, according to several people involved in the discussions. Paul Kiernan, WSJ, "Trump Blasts Fed as Mnuchin Bids to Reassure Investors," 24 Dec. 2018 No one is immune to pre-wedding jitters, even the people running the royal family’s official social media accounts. D. Elizabeth, Glamour, "The Royal Family Twitter Account Messed Up Princess Eugenie's Fiancé's Name," 11 Oct. 2018 While some of those initial jitters have calmed down, the stock is still down more than 5 percent since touching a record high in early June. Esha Dey, The Seattle Times, "Boeing set for ‘excellent’ quarter, investors hungry for detail," 24 July 2018 The jitters helped drive demand for government bonds. Joe Mcdonald, The Seattle Times, "Asia shares sink after Wall Street sell-off," 4 Dec. 2018 But with wider pressure on U.S. stocks, retailers are feeling the jitters early this year. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "Investors Are Too Pessimistic About Target," 20 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 That helped me get my first game jitters out of the way. Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, "Rockets unsure on Chris Paul's return," 21 Oct. 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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Statistics for jitter

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for jitter

The first known use of jitter was in 1929

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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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excited commotion or publicity

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