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[jit-er] /ˈdʒɪt ər/
jitters, nervousness; a feeling of fright or uneasiness (usually preceded by the):
Every time I have to make a speech, I get the jitters.
fluctuations in the image on a television screen or in copy received by facsimile transmission, caused by interference or by momentary failures of synchronization.
verb (used without object)
to behave nervously.
Origin of jitter
1920-25; variant of chitter to shiver (Middle English chiteren), gradational variant of chatter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for jitters
  • Helpful tips for mom and dad on how to ease preschool jitters are provided.
  • He also kept using people's real names, giving the others serious jitters.
  • The mere words give parents the jitters, which is partly why the college pickup culture has received so much attention.
  • In any case it would be exciting if the experiment does see any jitters as it would open up a whole new area for research.
  • Some camcorders employ electronics that manipulate the image itself to cancel out the jitters.
  • What gives us the jitters is that all of these are related.
  • In fact he did enliven the semester, but a strange thing happened along the way: there was a tremendous outbreak of the jitters.
  • But for many firms the usual jitters are now combined with a less familiar problem: falling profitability.
  • Worse than jitters in the money markets would be a loss of faith by depositors.
  • Uncertainty about whether the rest of the loan will be disbursed is causing jitters.
British Dictionary definitions for jitters


(intransitive) to be anxious or nervous
the jitters, nervousness and anxiety
(electronics) small rapid variations in the amplitude or timing of a waveform arising from fluctuations in the voltage supply, mechanical vibrations, etc
Word Origin
C20: of unknown origin
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 jitters

"extreme nervousness," 1925, American English, perhaps an alteration of dialectal chitter "tremble, shiver," from Middle English chittern "to twitter, chatter."



"to move agitatedly," 1931, American English; see jitters. Related: Jittered; jittering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for jitters


  1. To tremble; quiver: A line of half-washed clothes jittered on a rusty wire (1931+)
  2. To be nervous; be agitated; fret: I jittered around the house, unable to concentrate on anything (1932+)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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