verb (used without object)

  1. to wave, flap, or toss about: Banners fluttered in the breeze.
  2. to flap the wings rapidly; fly with flapping movements.
  3. to move in quick, irregular motions; vibrate.
  4. to beat rapidly, as the heart.
  5. to be tremulous or agitated.
  6. to go with irregular motions or aimless course: to flutter back and forth.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cause to flutter; vibrate; agitate.
  2. to throw into nervous or tremulous excitement; cause mental agitation; confuse.


  1. a fluttering movement: He made little nervous flutters with his hands.
  2. a state of nervous excitement or mental agitation: a flutter of anticipation.
  3. flutter kick.
  4. Audio. a variation in pitch resulting from rapid fluctuations in the speed of a recording.Compare wow2(def 1).
  5. Chiefly British. a small wager or speculative investment.


  1. to wave or cause to wave rapidly; flap
  2. (intr) (of birds, butterflies, etc) to flap the wings
  3. (intr) to move, esp downwards, with an irregular motion
  4. (intr) pathol (of the auricles of the heart) to beat abnormally rapidly, esp in a regular rhythm
  5. to be or make nervous or restless
  6. (intr) to move about restlessly
  7. swimming to cause (the legs) to move up and down in a flutter kick or (of the legs) to move in this way
  8. (tr) British informal to wager or gamble (a small amount of money)


  1. a quick flapping or vibrating motion
  2. a state of nervous excitement or confusion
  3. excited interest; sensation; stir
  4. British informal a modest bet or wager
  5. pathol an abnormally rapid beating of the auricles of the heart (200 to 400 beats per minute), esp in a regular rhythm, sometimes resulting in heart block
  6. electronics a slow variation in pitch in a sound-reproducing system, similar to wow but occurring at higher frequencies
  7. a potentially dangerous oscillation of an aircraft, or part of an aircraft, caused by the interaction of aerodynamic forces, structural elastic reactions, and inertia
  8. swimming See flutter kick
  9. Also called: flutter tonguing music a method of sounding a wind instrument, esp the flute, with a rolling movement of the tongue

Old English floterian “to flutter, fly, flicker, float to and fro, be tossed by waves,” frequentative of flotian “to float” (see float (v.)). Related: Fluttered; fluttering. As a noun from 1640s; meaning “state of excitement” is 1740s.


  1. Abnormally rapid pulsation, especially of the atria or ventricles of the heart.

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