Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To wave or flap rapidly in an irregular manner.
  • intransitive verb To fly by a quick light flapping of the wings.
  • intransitive verb To flap the wings without flying.
  • intransitive verb To move or fall in a manner suggestive of tremulous flight.
  • intransitive verb To vibrate or beat rapidly or erratically.
  • intransitive verb To move quickly in a nervous, restless, or excited fashion; flit.
  • intransitive verb To cause to flutter.
  • noun The act of fluttering.
  • noun A condition of nervous excitement or agitation.
  • noun A commotion; a stir.
  • noun Medicine Abnormally rapid pulsation, especially of the atria or ventricles of the heart.
  • noun Rapid fluctuation in the pitch of a sound reproduction resulting from variations in the speed of the recording or reproducing equipment.
  • noun Chiefly British A small bet; a gamble.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To float; undulate; fluctuate.
  • To move up and down or to and fro in quick irregular motions; vibrate, throb, or move about rapidly or variably; hover or waver in quick motion.
  • To be in agitation; fluctuate in feeling; be in uncertainty; hang on the balance.
  • To be frivolous or foppish; play the part of a beau of the period; fly from one thing to another.
  • To move in quick irregular motions; agitate; vibrate: as, a bird fluttering its wings.
  • To cause to flutter; disorder; throw into confusion.
  • noun Quick and irregular motion, as of wings; rapid vibration, undulation, or pulsation: as, the flutter of a fan or of the heart.
  • noun Agitation; confusion; confused or excited feeling or action.
  • noun A flow of mingled water and steam from the gage-cocks of a steam-boiler. This occurs in locomotives when the boiler primes, or works water into the cylinders.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of fluttering; quick and irregular motion; vibration.
  • noun Hurry; tumult; agitation of the mind; confusion; disorder.
  • noun a water wheel placed below a fall or in a chute where rapidly moving water strikes the tips of the floats; -- so called from the spattering, and the fluttering noise it makes.
  • transitive verb To vibrate or move quickly.
  • transitive verb To drive in disorder; to throw into confusion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To flap or wave quickly but irregularly.
  • verb intransitive Of a winged animal: to flap the wings without flying; to fly with a light flapping of the wings.
  • verb transitive To cause something to flap.
  • noun The act of fluttering.
  • noun A state of agitation.
  • noun An abnormal rapid pulsation of the heart.
  • noun UK A small bet or risky investment.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb wink briefly
  • verb move along rapidly and lightly; skim or dart
  • noun the motion made by flapping up and down
  • noun the act of moving back and forth
  • verb flap the wings rapidly or fly with flapping movements
  • noun abnormally rapid beating of the auricles of the heart (especially in a regular rhythm); can result in heart block
  • verb beat rapidly
  • verb move back and forth very rapidly
  • noun a disorderly outburst or tumult

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English floteren, from Old English floterian; see pleu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English floteren, from Old English floterian, flotorian ("to float about, flutter"). Cognate with Low German fluttern, fluddern ("to flutter") and Albanian flutur ("butterfly"). More at float.

Examples

  • In these two wind-conscious memoirs, the word flutter appears often and imaginatively.

    Deconstructing Obama

  • In these two wind-conscious memoirs, the word flutter appears often and imaginatively.

    Deconstructing Obama

  • Therein flutter the souls of the dead; for the dead be many and the living few.

    NAM-BOK THE UNVERACIOUS

  • Therein flutter the souls of the dead; for the dead be many and the living few.

    Nam-Bok, the Unveracious

  • State Capitol police today reversed an earlier decision to allow the bright yellow "Don't Tread On Me" banner to flutter from the highly visible flagpole after learning that activists had planned a political rally following the flag-raising ceremony.

    POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: April 9, 2010

  • Using a series of flexible solar cells as leaves, GROW takes the shape of ivy growing on a building - the leaves are solar cells while the wind that causes them to flutter is harvested as viable energy using a series of piezoelectric generators on the underside of each leaf.

    SMIT’s GROW: Solar and Wind Photovoltaic ‘Leaves’ | Inhabitat

  • She dreams she leans over the brown dust and lifts a brown leaf that is a moth, holds it inside her mouth to revive the flutter from a frost now covering the still-live glass, the fallen pears half eaten by deer, and her shoulders exposed from the comforter her lover always drags to his side of the mattress.

    Wednesday Shout Out : Rigoberto González : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

  • Out in the street the loudspeakers bellow, the flags flutter from the rooftops, the police with their tommy-guns prowl to and fro, the face of the Leader, four feet wide, glares from every hoarding; but up in the attics the secret enemies of the régime can record their thoughts in perfect freedomthat is the idea, more or less.

    As I Please

  • Therein flutter the souls of the dead; for the dead be many and the living few.

    Nam-Bok, The Liar

  • Therein flutter the souls of the dead; for the dead be many and the living few.

    Nam-Bok the Unveracious

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