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

That caused jitters among Argentines, who have stashed away dollars as a cushion since the 2001 economic implosion, and a rush to buy scarcer dollars pushed the peso's value down. Almudena Calatrava, Fox News, "Argentines seek soup kitchens, barter markets amid crisis," 10 Sep. 2018 After being mostly impervious this year to jitters over a trade war, technology stocks have recently also been hit. Gunjan Banerji, WSJ, "Investors Seek Protection From Market’s Biggest Winners," 2 July 2018 But the market has recently slowed a bit, thanks to jitters about the approaching presidential election on July 1, Ms. de la Torre de Skipsey said. Lisa Prevost, New York Times, "House Hunting in … Mexico," 30 May 2018 Last month’s Italian election gave the upper hand to populist, Euroskeptic parties that want to abandon pension changes and expand Italy’s worrisome national debt, adding to German jitters. Steven Erlanger, BostonGlobe.com, "Macron had a big plan for Europe. It’s now falling apart.," 19 Apr. 2018 The Dominguez Hills researchers are exploring a distilled version of this anxiety — a sense of dread when separated from our virtual social networks, comparable to the jitters of an addict in early withdrawal. Chris Berdik, Washington Post, "To ban or not to ban: Teachers grapple with forcing students to disconnect from technology," 22 Jan. 2018 In practice, this means that even the barest toe nudge can provide a jitter-free engagement. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Thrustmaster TPR: The best flight sim pedals you can buy in a store like a normal person," 23 Sep. 2018 Copper prices slipped to a six-month low Thursday amid jitters about economic growth in China, the world’s dominant consumer of the metal. David Hodari, WSJ, "Copper Falls to 2018 Low After Weak Chinese Data," 28 June 2018 When the governor took office, the state was in recession, with unemployment near double digits, jitters about exiting businesses and thousands of families tossed out of their homes by foreclosure. New York Times, "In the Race for Governor, How Far Left Is Colorado Willing to Go?," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Ehlinger seems to have all the freshman jitters out of the way, and is looking solid. Hunter Cooke, ajc, "Baker Mayfield doesn’t know much about Longhorn QB Sam Ehlinger, except his losses," 9 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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Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for jitter

The first known use of jitter was in 1929

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Britannica English: Translation of jitter for Arabic Speakers

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