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.

1125–75; Middle English twicchen (v.); akin to Old English twiccian to pluck; cognate with German zwicken to pinch

twitcher, noun
twitchingly, adverb
untwitched, adjective
untwitching, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
twitch (twɪtʃ)
1.  to move or cause to move in a jerky spasmodic way
2.  (tr) to pull or draw (something) with a quick jerky movement
3.  (intr) to hurt with a sharp spasmodic pain
4.  rare (tr) to nip
5.  a sharp jerking movement
6.  a mental or physical twinge
7.  Compare tic a sudden muscular spasm, esp one caused by a nervous condition
8.  a loop of cord used to control a horse by drawing it tight about its upper lip
[Old English twiccian to pluck; related to Old High German zwecchōn to pinch, Dutch twicken]
adj, —n

twitcher (ˈtwɪtʃə)
1.  a person or thing that twitches
2.  informal a bird-watcher who tries to spot as many rare varieties as possible

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1175, to-twic-chen "pull apart with a quick jerk," related to O.E. twiccian "to pluck," from P.Gmc. *twikjonan (cf. Low Ger. twicken, Du. twikken, O.H.G. gizwickan, Ger. zwicken "to pinch, tweak"). The noun is attested from 1520s. Related: Twitching.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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