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Etymology 1[edit]

Possibly alteration of chitter (tremble, shiver), from Middle English chittern (to twitter, chatter). Ultimately onomatopoeic; compare didder and teeter as well as German zittern.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈdʒɪt.ə(ɹ)/
  • Rhymes: -ɪtə(r)
  • (file)


jitter (countable and uncountable, plural jitters)

  1. A nervous action; a tic.
  2. (chiefly in the plural, often with "the") A state of nervousness.
    That creepy movie gave me the jitters.
    • 2014, Ian Black, "Courts kept busy as Jordan works to crush support for Isis", The Guardian, 27 November 2014:
      It is a sunny morning in Amman and the three uniformed judges in Jordan’s state security court are briskly working their way through a pile of slim grey folders on the bench before them. Each details the charges against 25 or so defendants accused of supporting the fighters of the Islamic State (Isis), now rampaging across Syria and Iraq under their sinister black banners and sending nervous jitters across the Arab world.
    • 2010 December 29, Chris Whyatt, “Chelsea 1 - 0 Bolton”, in BBC[1]:
      But Bolton deserve real credit, seeking to take advantage of their jitters at every opportunity in typically determined fashion.
  3. (telecommunications) An abrupt and unwanted variation of one or more signal characteristics.
    • 1956, LIFE (volume 41, number 11, page 41)
      Now you have mirror-clear TV without picture flopover, jitter, tear!
  4. (data visualization) A random positioning of data points to avoid visual overlap.
Related terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


jitter (third-person singular simple present jitters, present participle jittering, simple past and past participle jittered)

  1. (intransitive) To be nervous.
  2. (data visualization) To position data points randomly to avoid visual overlap.

Etymology 2[edit]

jit +‎ -er


jitter (plural jitters)

  1. (computing) A program or routine that performs jitting; a just-in-time compiler.




jitter m (uncountable)

  1. (telecommunications) jitter (abrupt and unwanted variation of signal characteristics)