Definition of dither in English:



  • 1Be indecisive.

    ‘I can't bear people who dither’
    ‘he was dithering about the election date’
    • ‘It's a very small-scale event, so please don't dither, dally or delay.’
    • ‘The longer that the government dithers, the deeper we get into debt.’
    • ‘We're still dithering over the Future Fund and talking of parking spare shares there.’
    • ‘While the FDA dithers, the case against selling EC over the counter weakens by the day.’
    • ‘Time and again he dithered and dallied on the baseline.’
    • ‘As the Government dithers on the matter, he said, cancer sufferers in Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford and Carlow are dying.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, as she dithers, I put more and more things into boxes.’
    • ‘In the face of this, official Ottawa dithers and slithers, hoping questions about Arar will go away.’
    • ‘There must be no more discussion, delay or dithering on building this interceptor tunnel.’
    • ‘Dibden Bay and Southampton have been delayed and they are dithering about Bathside.’
    • ‘The limited access to anti-retrovirals and national government's dithering further dims their future.’
    • ‘Yet the CEOs and the Boards of Directors still dithered and their share prices were unshaken.’
    • ‘And so Danny just stood in the background whilst the soldiers dithered around trying to make things safe.’
    • ‘They dithered and faltered and could not get the roll-out of the leadership coup over to the public or even amongst themselves.’
    • ‘The government has been warned to stop dithering and delaying over its Crossrail plans for Kingston.’
    • ‘Because hanging around while someone dithers over their order was getting between him and his carefully crafted lifestyle.’
    • ‘While other sporting associations and organisations vacillated and dithered and dallied, the GAA got on with it.’
    • ‘Still, we dithered around with first one idea and then another.’
    • ‘While the government dithers, the awful record of deaths at work gets worse.’
    • ‘While the Government dithers, the project continues to suffer mind-boggling cost escalation at the rate of Rs. 55 lakh a day.’
    hesitate, falter, waver, teeter, vacillate, oscillate, fluctuate, change one's mind, be in two minds, be ambivalent, be indecisive, be unsure, be undecided
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  • 2with object Add white noise to (a digital recording) to reduce distortion of low-amplitude signals.

    • ‘In order to test the actuation bandwidth, the reference signal was dithered with a signal of constant amplitude, swept in frequency.’
    • ‘In fact what I had done was to put the AIFF file in Wavelab, used the change gain function and re-dithered the song.’
    1. 2.1 Display or print (a colour image) in such a way that it appears to contain more colours than are really available.
      ‘dithered bitmaps’
      • ‘Photoshop / ImageReady accomplishes this through dithering the image in one of three methods, selectable by the user: diffusion, pattern and noise.’
      • ‘‘The messy dithering of colours that occurs with JPEG compression is bad feng shui.’’
      • ‘GIF may win out with the non-dithering, fewer color images while JPEG is excellent for dithered continuous tone images.’
      • ‘However, the dithering on the 24-bit photos we beamed over was very apparent thanks to the screen's low dot pitch.’
      • ‘The three images are supposed to show the effects of quantization and dithering, but that's nearly impossible to see in this black-and-white image.’


  • 1informal mass noun Indecisive behaviour.

    ‘after months of dither ministers had still not agreed’
    • ‘Why all this dither about what's modern and what's not?’
    • ‘‘It is time the Government ended the dither and delay,’ Mr Burstow said.’
    • ‘Veterans are disappointed if not a little angered by the dither and delay which means the collection is now going 100 miles away.’
    • ‘It was entertaining to see them caught in a dither of priorities.’
    • ‘His moment of authority coming as it does after an evening of dither and doubt is a well thought out and crafted piece of acting.’
    • ‘The fresh wave of rhapsodic dither on the director's sociopolitical acuity was inevitable.’
    • ‘Intel's obviously in a bit of a dither about this.’
    • ‘After what seemed like an eternity of debate and dither, Winters finally smashed his kick high and to the left of Gallacher.’
  • 2in singular A state of agitation.

    ‘all of a dither, he prophesied instant chaos’
    • ‘Image processor using both dither and error diffusion to produce halftone images with less flicker and patterns’
    • ‘But still, the whole experience can send me into a tissy and a dither and you don't want Halley in either of those places.’
    • ‘Mary charged out of the room in an obvious dither.’
    • ‘Instead, the government opted for dither and funk.’
    • ‘In DXD mode, dither is selectable for stereo and surround monitors, but you must not use it.’
    • ‘It's the day of the murder-mystery fundraising event and Colleen's all in a dither.’
    • ‘With Hong Kong in a dither, Shanghai is quickly gaining prominence as the gateway to China.’
    • ‘The Empress is in a dither about the sprinklers again.’
    • ‘After Clark and I returned home from our oceanic bonding session, we walked in the door to find the whole house in a dither.’
    panic, state of fear, fluster
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Mid 17th century (in the dialect sense ‘tremble, quiver’): variant of dialect didder; related to dodder.