jit·​ter·​bug | \ ˈji-tər-ˌbəg How to pronounce jitterbug (audio) \

Definition of jitterbug

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a jazz variation of the two-step in which couples swing, balance, and twirl in standardized patterns and often with vigorous acrobatics
2 : one who dances the jitterbug


jitterbugged; jitterbugging; jitterbugs

Definition of jitterbug (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to dance the jitterbug
2 : to move around or back and forth with quick often jerky movements especially to confuse or disconcert an opponent in sports

Examples of jitterbug in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The event will feature 1950s drive-in style food and dance contests that include the twist and jitterbug. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, "Patty Turner Center turns back the clock to the 1950s," 12 July 2018 Dancers will compete for prizes in the Stroll, the jitterbug and the twist, according to Kailey Schwartzhoff, the program coordinator at the Patty Turner Center. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, "Patty Turner Center turns back the clock to the 1950s," 12 July 2018 She and her cousin Kenny Robinson were known for their rendition of the D.C. Bop, a regional hand dance with roots in jitterbug and swing. Janene Holzberg, Howard County Times, "Community Foundation of Howard County CEO on her love of British TV, dancing," 4 June 2018 The jitterbug point guard out of Kentucky has assumed a prominent place on a rebuilding team as a raw 20-year-old. Michael Singer, USA TODAY, "Rookie power rankings: Kings' duo De'Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic seizing the spotlight," 23 Jan. 2018 Get Hep Swing is heading to Duck Island’s Forest City Brewery for a night to practice classic swing, like the jitterbug, Charleston and Balboa. cleveland.com, "21 things to do in Cleveland the weekend of Dec. 21-24," 20 Dec. 2017 Checker explained that before The Twist was popular, people danced touching each other, for example doing the jitterbug or the waltz. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Chubby Checker still doin', lovin' 'The Twist'," 19 Dec. 2017 Dance the jitterbug, swing a partner and do the lindy hop with live music all night. Alaska Dispatch News, "What’s happening around Anchorage: Fandom goes to the museum, ‘Gold Rush’ burlesque and a comic opera opener," 3 Nov. 2017 Receiver/running back Jerodd Vines has a scholarship offer from Toledo and senior Darrius Adkins is a jitterbug slot receiver. Keith Dunlap, Detroit Free Press, "What we saw in Detroit Central’s 40-0 win over Detroit Denby in PSL B finals," 20 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Bush caught a screen pass and jitterbugged past a diving tackler and exploded into the open field. Zach Helfand, latimes.com, "USC-Texas revisited: LenDale White and what happened after fourth-and-two," 13 Sep. 2017

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


1938, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1939, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for jitterbug

The first known use of jitterbug was in 1938

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English Language Learners Definition of jitterbug

: a very lively type of dance from the 1940s

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More from Merriam-Webster on jitterbug

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jitterbug

Britannica English: Translation of jitterbug for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jitterbug

Comments on jitterbug

What made you want to look up jitterbug? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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