Definition of flitter in US English:



  • no object, with adverbial of direction Move quickly in an apparently random or purposeless manner.

    ‘if only you would settle down instead of flittering around the countryside’
    • ‘Her mother paused and several expressions Helene couldn't identify flittered quickly across her face.’
    • ‘In fact some of the scariest bits of this film are when we see these greenish critters flittering into the shadows.’
    • ‘‘Yes ma'am,’ the sprite mocked before flittering and tinkling out of the door and joining the numerous other sprites who had finished waking their masters.’
    • ‘Maggie looked harder out the window and let her eyes get adjusted to the dark until she could see the blades of grass growing near the bases of the trees and the fireflies flittering around the low bushes.’
    • ‘He could almost tell what it was to be a bird, a nightbug, a butterfly, twirling and swirling, dancing upon the high currents, dodging limbs and weaving through flowers, flittering and fluttering ever so high, unimaginably high.’
    • ‘Her task was to guide us through a daily practice on a shaded platform while the water buffaloes and goats were herded back and forth to drink and butterflies the size of small birds flittered among the flowers.’
    • ‘Hannah Maddock was flittering about her bedroom when the door creaked open, and Therese walked in, carrying a pile of clothes under the crook of one arm.’
    • ‘She kicked the door shut gently, pushing the lock with her elbow and depositing the pizza on the table in front of him before flittering to the kitchen and returning with plates and napkins.’
    • ‘Someone's fingers flittered across her hand, and she knew it was him.’
    • ‘The thought of not going home and going somewhere else flittered briefly through my mind.’
    • ‘The spell was broken, the notes flittered away as quickly as they had come back to her.’
    • ‘But then again she was scarcely fifteen years of age, and the mere idea of a Duke looking at her as this young man demonstrated sent her heart flittering like butterflies all around her chest.’
    • ‘His fingers flittered down her face, feeling the same emotion that he had since the moment he met her, longing, love.’
    • ‘These thoughts are flittering through your mind.’
    • ‘She lucked out that day, however, nothing much really happened except for her mother flittering about, consulting with nurses and her father brooding, watching warily.’
    • ‘The reception filled with dancing and flittering about, the string ensemble made up of some of Texas' finest.’
    • ‘Patricia, his assistant, had flittered across the room nervously to greet him.’
    • ‘When you think of fairies, you think of cute little creatures flittering around spreading their sprinkling fairy dust on everyone. This of course is not what fairies are really like.’
    • ‘At least I'm not flittering off having an affair!’
    • ‘The following week, they will take wing in places like Florida's Cypress Gardens, where tourists pay to walk through a greenhouse flittering with more than a thousand colorful butterflies from around the world.’
    flit, hover, dance
    View synonyms


  • A fluttering movement.

    ‘the flash and flitter of colored wings’
    • ‘The manic warbler was back in force atop the still leafless weeping cherry, with a flitter of potential girlfriends darting among the bamboo still bent over from the recent snow.’
    • ‘Mostly all better today, with soothing blue skies and the peripheral visiony flitter of bird wings.’
    • ‘Other than a gash of red banners over the communal table - and the flitter of phosphorescing fish in the tanks that separate the dining room from the kitchen - it is a color-free zone.’
    • ‘A nervous flitter of bubbles had formed in her stomach.’
    • ‘We whistle, skipping to the car in a delusional, potentially ridiculous flitter.’
    • ‘I'm honestly not that interested, as it was just the flitter of a thought that coalesced recently and I was mostly throwing it out here to see if there was any weight to it.’


Late Middle English: frequentative of flit.