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[dod-er-ing] /ˈdɒd ər ɪŋ/
shaky or trembling, as from old age; tottering:
a doddering old man.
Also, doddery
[dod-uh-ree] /ˈdɒd ə ri/ (Show IPA)
Origin of doddering
1735-45; dodder1 + -ing2


[dod-er] /ˈdɒd ər/
verb (used without object)
to shake; tremble; totter.
1610-20; cf. dither, totter, teeter, etc.
Related forms
dodderer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for doddering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But after that it becomes merely a hopeless, doddering love affair ending by his returning to Earth with his fair one by his side.

  • There also, as at Terracina, ancient and doddering men acted as chambermaids.

    A Tramp's Notebook Morley Roberts
  • Many a younger and prettier face had caught Louis' doddering fancy, since her death.

    Superwomen Albert Payson Terhune
  • He reeled and swayed, doddering like a drunken man to keep from falling.

    Love of Life Jack London
  • Does that doddering old dancing-master of yours behave himself?

    The Firing Line Robert W. Chambers
  • Only old Japp can stick it out, and he's too old and doddering to care about moving.

    Prester John John Buchan
  • When you come to doddering, Jacob, it's better to dodder in the paths you know.

    Lady Rose's Daughter Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Franklin was no doddering Polonius, looking for advantage where others could have none.

British Dictionary definitions for doddering


shaky, feeble, or infirm, esp from old age


verb (intransitive)
to move unsteadily; totter
to shake or tremble, as from age
Derived Forms
dodderer, noun
doddery, adjective
Word Origin
C17: variant of earlier dadder; related to Norwegian dudra to tremble


any rootless parasitic plant of the convolvulaceous genus Cuscuta, lacking chlorophyll and having slender twining stems with suckers for drawing nourishment from the host plant, scalelike leaves, and whitish flowers
Word Origin
C13: of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch, Middle Low German dodder, Middle High German toter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for doddering



1610s, perhaps from Middle English daderen "to quake, tremble" (late 15c.), apparently frequentative of dialectal dade, on a form similar to totter, patter. Related: Doddered; doddering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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