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[twich] /twɪtʃ/
verb (used with object)
to tug or pull at with a quick, short movement; pluck:
She twitched him by the sleeve.
to jerk rapidly:
The rider twitched the reins a couple of times.
to move (a part of the body) with a sudden, jerking motion.
to pinch or pull at sharply and painfully; give a smarting pinch to; nip.
verb (used without object)
to move spasmodically or convulsively; jerk; jump.
to give a sharp, sudden pull; tug; pluck (usually followed by at):
He constantly twitched at his collar.
to ache or hurt with a sharp, shooting pain; twinge:
That back tooth twitches a bit.
a quick, jerky movement of the body or of some part of it.
involuntary, spasmodic movement of a muscle; tic:
He gets a twitch in his left eye when he's nervous.
a short, sudden pull or tug; jerk.
a bodily or mental twinge, as of pain, conscience, etc.; pang.
a loop or noose placed over the muzzle of a horse and tightened by twisting a stick or handle to which it is attached, used as a restraining device during a painful operation.
Origin of twitch
1125-75; Middle English twicchen (v.); akin to Old English twiccian to pluck; cognate with German zwicken to pinch
Related forms
twitcher, noun
twitchingly, adverb
untwitched, adjective
untwitching, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for twitch
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I'll show you what I mean," said Bartley with an ugly quiet, while his mustache began to twitch.

    A Modern Instance William Dean Howells
  • John looked after him without so much as a twitch in a single nerve of his face.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • Mr. Hedges observed Sir Anthony's lips to twitch convulsively.

    The Black Moth Georgette Heyer
  • John could see him give his tie a twitch as he rang the front bell.

    A Son of the City Herman Gastrell Seely
  • The brief wrinkling around his mouth and the twitch of his white mustache had been enough, however; she knew what he was thinking.

    Omnilingual H. Beam Piper
  • I guess she never had him twitch off her best cap, and toss it in a mud-puddle.

British Dictionary definitions for twitch


to move or cause to move in a jerky spasmodic way
(transitive) to pull or draw (something) with a quick jerky movement
(intransitive) to hurt with a sharp spasmodic pain
(transitive) (rare) to nip
a sharp jerking movement
a mental or physical twinge
a sudden muscular spasm, esp one caused by a nervous condition Compare tic
a loop of cord used to control a horse by drawing it tight about its upper lip
Derived Forms
twitching, adjective, noun
Word Origin
Old English twiccian to pluck; related to Old High German zwecchōn to pinch, Dutch twicken
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 twitch

late 12c., to-twic-chen "pull apart with a quick jerk," related to Old English twiccian "to pluck," from Proto-Germanic *twikjonan (cf. Low German twicken, Dutch twikken, Old High German gizwickan, German zwicken "to pinch, tweak"). Related: Twitched; twitching. The noun is attested from 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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twitch in Medicine

twitch (twĭch)
v. twitched, twitch·ing, twitch·es

  1. To draw, pull, or move suddenly and sharply; jerk.

  2. To move jerkily or spasmodically.

  3. To ache sharply from time to time; twinge.

A sudden involuntary or spasmodic muscular movement.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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