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

Definition of jitter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 jitters\ ˈji-​tərz How to pronounce jitter (audio) \ 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

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Examples of jitter in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Any nitrogen evaporation would have changed the tumbling period of ‘Oumuamua and caused jitter, well beyond the observed limits. Avi Loeb, Scientific American, "Was the Interstellar Object 'Oumuamua a Nitrogen Iceberg?," 19 Mar. 2021 Magnetorheological dampers provide an easy and jitter-free ride. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, "2020 Ferrari F8 Spider Protects Your Hearing," 1 July 2020 Uber’s 23% share drop since its IPO has added to investor jitters. Michael Hytha, Bloomberg.com, "China’s Phoenix Tree Flat in Debut as U.S. Listings Restart," 5 May 2020 Unconfirmed reports Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile condition after surgery added to the jitters. Elaine Kurtenbach, The Christian Science Monitor, "The price of uncertainty: Oil futures prices drop below $0," 21 Apr. 2020 Unconfirmed reports Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile condition after surgery added to the jitters. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus live updates: Cuomo, Trump to meet at the White House; South Carolina moves to ease restrictions; immigration temporarily halted," 21 Apr. 2020 Adding to the jitters, UPS also announced on Tuesday that Jim Barber, chief operating officer and the heir apparent to CEO David Abney, was stepping down. Washington Post, "For UPS, Being Better Than FedEx Isn’t Enough," 22 Oct. 2019 Even royals aren’t immune to first-day jitters at a new school! Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Princess Charlotte and Prince George Had This Sweet Trait in Common on Their First Days of School," 5 Sep. 2019 That’s adding to investor jitters about overstretched valuations for companies with unproven business models. Carol Zhong, Fortune, "'You Can’t Not Be There': Why Wall Street Is Lending Billions to China's Hottest Tech Unicorns," 12 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The shadow of the new coronavirus finally reached American shores this week, as markets jittered downward and new cases crept up. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "The Gig Economy Has Never Been Tested by a Pandemic," 28 Feb. 2020 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

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

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Jitter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jitter. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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