Definition of swither in English:



[no object]Scottish
  • Be uncertain as to which course of action to choose.

    ‘Leonard swithered as to whether he should enter the arts or commerce’
    • ‘It's like the MMR jab, people were swithering whether to go ahead with it.’
    • ‘When Crowe began casting for a leading lady to complement Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, he was apparently still swithering over who to give the part to when his star arrived for his first costume check.’
    • ‘He is swithering about possibly riding Blowing Wind, however, as he is consistent and has been placed twice in the past two years.’
    • ‘I'd been swithering all week, but now the prospect of endless cups of tea, the Sunday papers and a whole afternoon of Dawson's Creek and the central heating on full blast seemed very appealing.’
    • ‘I am swithering, I have to say, not least because of the cravat.’
    • ‘On the day she saw the GP, Del Veneziano was still swithering.’
    • ‘Unlike the Celtic centre-back, the Ibrox defender was allowed to swither over an offer from Dundee United.’
    • ‘French target Bobo Balde of Toulouse is still swithering over coming to Celtic.’
    • ‘We swithered about joining the EU, reducing our influence on it, and now we are swithering about the euro.’
    • ‘By three, we're swithering about moving to the catchment area of the best state primary.’
    • ‘I swithered quite hard over some words - like committee, which you spell ‘comatee’ in Scots - but decided to take it one step at a time.’’
    • ‘This was reinforced by supportive messages from pals and, while I swithered, they gave me business introductions and I waited for my restrictive covenant to end,’ he said.’
    • ‘The two remaining guards had swithered and decided to flee.’
    • ‘I swithered about going to Waulkmill, as the tide was only just starting to ebb, but fortunately I did, because I was able to see 3 Brent Geese (pale bellied) as well as Shelduck, Common Gull and Pheasant.’
    • ‘So, I'm swithering at the moment about whether I will realistically be able to give up the alcohol.’
    • ‘So the only thing that surprised when he was asked if he would take a draw and a replay at Ibrox, was the fact that he swithered, albeit fleetingly, before deciding against it.’
    indecisiveness, indecision, irresoluteness, lack of resolution, hesitancy, hesitation, tentativeness
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  • A state of uncertainty.

    • ‘They found the office in a "swither," as Harry said, over the revelations of fraud that were coming to light every day.’
    • ‘It's an exhilarating poem with its paradoxical guarantee of risk: there is nothing as vacillating here as a ‘swither’ and it is none the worse for it.’
    • ‘I pursued my journey to Fulton, and laughed heartily to think what a swither I had left poor Job in.’
    dithering, indecision, indecisiveness, irresoluteness, uncertainty, unsureness, doubt, wavering, teetering, temporization, hesitation, oscillation, fluctuation, inconstancy
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Early 16th century: of unknown origin.