twitch

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See also: Twitch

English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English twicchen, from Old English *twiċċan, from Proto-West Germanic *twikkijan (to nail, pin, fasten, clasp, pinch). Cognate with English tweak, Low German twikken, German Low German twicken (to pinch, pinch off), zweckōn and gizwickan (> German zwicken (to pinch)).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /twɪt͡ʃ/, [tʰw̥ɪt͡ʃ]
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪtʃ

Noun[edit]

twitch (countable and uncountable, plural twitches)

  1. A brief, small (sometimes involuntary) movement out of place and then back again; a spasm.
    I saw a little twitch in the man's face, and knew he was lying.
  2. (informal) Action of spotting or seeking out a bird, especially a rare one.
  3. (farriery) A stick with a hole in one end through which passes a loop, which can be drawn tightly over the upper lip or an ear of a horse and twisted to keep the animal quiet during minor surgery.
    Synonym: barnacle
    (Can we find and add a quotation of J. H. Walsh to this entry?)
  4. (physiology) A brief, contractile response of a skeletal muscle elicited by a single maximal volley of impulses in the neurons supplying it.
  5. (mining) The sudden narrowing almost to nothing of a vein of ore.
  6. (birdwatching) A trip taken in order to observe a rare bird.
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Translations[edit]

References[edit]

Verb[edit]

twitch (third-person singular simple present twitches, present participle twitching, simple past and past participle twitched)

  1. (intransitive) To perform a twitch; spasm.
  2. (transitive) To jerk sharply and briefly.
    to twitch somebody's sleeve for attention
  3. (obsolete) To exert oneself. [15th-17th c.]
  4. (transitive) To spot or seek out a bird, especially a rare one.
    • 1995, Quarterly Review of Biology vol. 70 p. 348:
      "The Birdwatchers Handbook ... will be a clear asset to those who 'twitch' in Europe."
    • 2003, Mark Cocker, Birders: Tales of a Tribe [1], →ISBN, page 52:
      "But the key revelation from twitching that wonderful Iceland Gull on 10 March 1974 wasn't its eroticism. It was the sheer innocence of it."
    • 2005, Sean Dooley, The Big Twitch: One Man, One Continent, a Race Against Time [2], →ISBN, page 119:
      "I hadn't seen John since I went to Adelaide to (unsuccessfully) twitch the '87 Northern Shoveler, when I was a skinny, eighteen- year-old kid. "
Translations[edit]
Usage notes[edit]

When used of birdwatchers by ignorant outsiders, this term frequently carries a negative connotation.

Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

alternate of quitch

Noun[edit]

twitch (uncountable)

  1. couch grass (Elymus repens; a species of grass, often considered as a weed)
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