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From a- +‎ flutter.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈflʌt.ə/
  • (US) IPA(key): /əˈflʌt.ɚ/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌtə(ɹ)


aflutter (comparative more aflutter, superlative most aflutter)

  1. Fluttering.
    • 1856, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh and Other Poems[1], London: Chapman and Hall, Book 7, p. 298:
      I can hear / Your heart a-flutter over the snow-hills;
    • 1888, W. B. Yeats, “King Gall” in uncredited editor, Poems and Ballads of Young Ireland, Dublin: M.H. Gill, p. 43,[2]
      They will not hush, the leaves a-flutter round me—the beech leaves old
    • 1949, Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces[3], New York: Pantheon, Part 1, Chapter 1, p. 61:
      The winds bared her limbs, the opposing breezes set her garments aflutter as she ran, and a light air flung her locks streaming behind her.
    • 1999, Oscar Hijuelos, Empress of the Splendid Season[4], London: Bloomsbury, page 170:
      An electric guitar lick [] imposed itself in his mind as a major symbol of virility and youth, notes rising like scimitars, aftertones aflutter like birds, the bending of a blues note like the rising arc of an erection.
  2. Filled or covered (with something that flutters).
    • 1891, Howard Pyle, chapter 24, in Men of Iron[5], New York and London: Harper, page 223:
      The day being warm and sultry, the balcony was all aflutter with the feather fans of the ladies of the family and their attendants,
    • 1937, Robert Byron, The Road to Oxiana[6], London: Macmillan, Part 4, p. 154:
      Beyond this lie the gardens of Hafiz and Saadi, each containing the poet’s tomb, and many others equally delicious for their cypresses, pines, and orange trees a-flutter with white pigeons and orchestras of sparrows.
    • 2000, Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay[7], London: Fourth Estate, Part 6, Chapter 3, p. 489:
      When Sammy returned from Virginia, after an interminable gray trip back up U.S. 1, he found their house in Midwood aflutter with bunting.
  3. In a state of tremulous excitement, anticipation or confusion.
    • 1880, George Washington Cable, chapter 20, in The Grandissimes[8], New York: Scribner, page 155:
      [] she rose, all a-flutter within, it is true, but with a face as nearly sedate as the inborn witchery of her eyes would allow.
    • 1930, Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, Once in a Lifetime, Act III, in Burns Mantle (ed.), The Best Plays of 1930-31, New York: Dodd, Mead, 1931, p. 144,[9]
      [] in breaks Susan Walker a little more aflutter than usual. The picture is wonderful. Seeing her name in lights is wonderful. Everything is just wonderful.
    • 2006, A. Mizrachi, Revenge of the Drama Queen, page 77:
      Once inside the house, everything was aflutter until I was safe and sound.

Usage notes[edit]

Like other adjectives composed of a verb prefixed with a-, this adjective never precedes but always follows the word it modifies.