skit·​ter | \ ˈski-tər How to pronounce skitter (audio) \
skittered; skittering; skitters

Definition of skitter

intransitive verb

1a : to glide or skip lightly or quickly
b : to move in or as in a jittery or jerky way leaves skittering over the sidewalk
2 : to twitch the hook of a fishing line through or along the surface of water

transitive verb

: to cause to skitter

Examples of skitter in a Sentence

Dry leaves skittered over the sidewalk. Mice skittered across the floor.
Recent Examples on the Web The blob, captured on distant, fuzzy video by Navy pilots, seems to skitter just above the ocean waves at improbable speed, with no discernible means of propulsion or lift., 5 June 2021 Hollywood dabbles in that darkness, too — Camille and her boyfriend Ray become the targets of racist harassment, bigots protest the studio, and so on — and then skitters back into the sunshine before things get too bleak. Darren Franich,, 29 Apr. 2020 When 49ers defensive back Tarvarius Moore snatched another interception after the ball skittered through the arms of a Chiefs receiver, San Francisco appeared to be suffocating the league’s most explosive offense. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, 3 Feb. 2020 The Habs nearly went up two goals on that power play, when net-front man Gallagher tipped a point shot, but the puck skittered wide of the post., 2 Dec. 2019 The film skitters around from talking about careers to what those careers cost personally. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Mar. 2020 But if skittered out of bounds, allowing the Chiefs to keep the ball. Sean Gregory, Time, 3 Feb. 2020 The ball skittered inside third base and down the left-field line, and Turner soon was standing on second while the breathless attention of Dodger Stadium was focused on the pitching mound. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 4 Oct. 2019 While the church bells chimed their four o’clock hymn, the monster-man would fly in a loping, wonky way, lunging and leaping and skittering across the ice toward Bill’s heels. Lauren Groff, The New York Review of Books, 18 Feb. 2020

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

1845, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for skitter

probably frequentative of English dialect (Scots and northern) skite to move quickly, probably from Old Norse skyt-, stem of skjōta to shoot

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Time Traveler for skitter

Time Traveler

The first known use of skitter was in 1845

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Statistics for skitter

Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Skitter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for skitter



English Language Learners Definition of skitter

: to move quickly and lightly along a surface


skit·​ter | \ ˈski-tər How to pronounce skitter (audio) \
skittered; skittering

Kids Definition of skitter

: to glide or skip lightly or quickly … Chipmunks skittered along the stone walls …— Robert Lawson, Rabbit Hill

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skitter


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