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 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,, "Hollywood review: Ryan Murphy's showbiz dramedy splits EW's critics," 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, "San Francisco’s Vaunted Defense Stunned by Kansas City Comeback," 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., "Observations from the Bruins’ victory the Canadiens - The Boston Globe," 2 Dec. 2019 The film skitters around from talking about careers to what those careers cost personally. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Tomboy': Film Review | SXSW 2020," 20 Mar. 2020 But if skittered out of bounds, allowing the Chiefs to keep the ball. Sean Gregory, Time, "Patrick Mahomes Led the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl Comeback. He Also Affirmed His Greatness," 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, "Column: Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw stumbles on big stage again in losing Game 2 of NLDS," 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, "The Keatsian Intelligence of Lorrie Moore," 18 Feb. 2020 And Cheikh Lo from Senegal, who crooned smoothly while propelling his band with complex, skittering African funk drumbeats. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "At Globalfest, Rowdy Sounds From Around the World," 13 Jan. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about skitter

Time Traveler for skitter

Time Traveler

The first known use of skitter was in 1845

See more words from the same year

Statistics for skitter

Last Updated

5 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Skitter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for skitter


How to pronounce skitter (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on skitter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skitter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with skitter

Comments on skitter

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!