Definition of dither in US English:



  • 1no object Be indecisive.

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

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


  • 1informal Indecisive behavior.

    ‘after months of dither they had still not agreed’
    • ‘After what seemed like an eternity of debate and dither, Winters finally smashed his kick high and to the left of Gallacher.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 2in singular A state of agitation.

    ‘buses are jammed and dirty and everyone is in a dither over taxis’
    • ‘Mary charged out of the room in an obvious dither.’
    • ‘With Hong Kong in a dither, Shanghai is quickly gaining prominence as the gateway to China.’
    • ‘Instead, the government opted for dither and funk.’
    • ‘Image processor using both dither and error diffusion to produce halftone images with less flicker and patterns’
    • ‘In DXD mode, dither is selectable for stereo and surround monitors, but you must not use it.’
    • ‘The Empress is in a dither about the sprinklers again.’
    • ‘It's the day of the murder-mystery fundraising event and Colleen's all in a dither.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century (in the dialect sense ‘tremble, quiver’): variant of dialect didder; related to dodder.