Definition of skitter in US English:


(British skeeter)


[no object]
  • 1Move lightly and quickly or hurriedly.

    ‘the girls skittered up the stairs’
    figurative ‘her mind skittered back to that day at the office’
    • ‘He held completely still, afraid to move and send the apparition skittering back into the depths of his sleep-riddled mind.’
    • ‘She nodded quickly and skittered over to her seat.’
    • ‘A rock skittered lightly to his left as he stepped into the sanctuary.’
    • ‘Twenty girls skitter through chassées, cross-ball-changes and multiple jazz pirouettes.’
    • ‘In a movie, this would be dealt with montage style, with trains hurtling down a track and planes skittering down the runway.’
    • ‘The thing by the stairs skittered in a tight circle, turning its buried face towards him.’
    • ‘He cradled her head to him, trying to understand why he felt tears skittering down his cheeks.’
    • ‘A few thoughts about Arthur skittered through her mind for a moment.’
    • ‘Her eyes widened further, and she backed, more quickly than before, skittering quickly against the walls and door.’
    • ‘His cameras zoom around a fictional CGI Paris like bugs skitter over puddles.’
    • ‘I was about to protest, but Alex quickly skittered off to the bathroom, leaving me stupidly holding the silver phone in my hand.’
    • ‘The llamas skittered impatiently and moved forward and I saw it was for real.’
    • ‘His thoughts had no pattern to them; they skittered brokenly through his mind.’
    • ‘Doris Humphrey, wearing a red dress, skips and skitters with a windblown lightness.’
    • ‘Thoughts of saying hello skittered briefly across my mind, but disappeared almost immediately.’
    • ‘When we stepped away from the tunnel's hatch, a tide of beetles skittered over the stones, away from our feet.’
    • ‘He didn't seem to mind much and as he leaned in close to the girl I skittered out deciding he was further preoccupied.’
    • ‘And then a thought skittered across Savitri's mind like a stone across water: What if you weren't here?’
    • ‘Versa yelled in a hurry, skittering to her first class.’
    • ‘It feels like there are spiders inside my mind, skittering and tapping me dreadfully with hundreds of nasty little feet.’
    dash, dart, run, sprint, race, rush, hurry, hasten, hare, hurtle, bolt, shoot, charge, career, speed, fly, whizz, zoom
    View synonyms
  • 2with object Draw (bait) jerkily across the surface of the water as a technique in fishing.


Mid 19th century: apparently a frequentative of skite.