1 of 2


tit·​tup ˈti-təp How to pronounce tittup (audio)
: lively, gay, or restless behavior


2 of 2


tittupped or tittuped; tittupping or tittuping

intransitive verb

: to move in a lively manner often with an exaggerated or affected action

Did you know?

Tittup has been used as noun naming an imitation of the sound of horses' hooves moving at a pace between a canter and a gallop since as early as 1703. The rhythmic sound and bounce of such movement was infectious enough to lead people to apply the word to other bouncy gaits, and to lively or restless behavior in general. Tittup was first used as a verb in 1785. In 1862, William Makepeace Thackeray recalled the word's equine origins when he wrote of a magnificent horse dancing, and tittupping. The word is not common today, but it does see occasional use, especially in British sources.

Word History



imitative of the sound of a horse's hooves

First Known Use


1868, in the meaning defined above


1709, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tittup was in 1709


Dictionary Entries Near tittup

Cite this Entry

“Tittup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tittup. Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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