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sense 4


Variant of didder, from Middle English dideren (to tremble). Compare Middle English bididren, bididdren (to seduce, deceive), from Old English bedidrian, bedyderian (to deceive, trick).

Alternatively, perhaps with expressive voicing from *titeren, from Proto-Germanic *titrōną. If so a doublet of teeter and cognate with Old High German zittarōn (German zittern) and Old Norse titra (Faroese titra, Icelandic titra). Alternatively an unrelated reduplicative onomatopoeia.



dither (third-person singular simple present dithers, present participle dithering, simple past and past participle dithered) (intransitive)

  1. To tremble, shake, or shiver with cold.
  2. To be uncertain or unable to make a decision about doing something.
    • 2012, The Economist, Sept. 22nd issue, Indian Reform: At Last
      The dithering Mr Singh of recent times may worry that his reform proposals are already too bold. The reforming Mr Singh of yore would see them as just the start.
  3. To do something nervously.
  4. (computer graphics) To render an approximation of (an image or graphic) by using dot patterns to simulate the appearance of colors or shades not in the system palette.
  5. To intentionally add noise to a signal to randomize errors.

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dither (countable and uncountable, plural dithers)

  1. The state of being undecided.
    • 2002, Thomas P. Glynn, A Child's Christmas In Chicago, page 59:
      Everyone was in a dither; either in it or about to get in it or just climbing out of it. Naturally, the Madam was not in a dither. Dither was a foreign concept to her.
  2. A form of noise which is intentionally applied to randomize errors which occur in the processing of both digital audio and digital video data.
  3. (computer graphics) The use of dot patterns to approximate colors not available in the palette.

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