To flutter means ‘to wave or flap about’ and, if we are talking about birds or other winged creatures, ‘to flap the wings or to fly flapping them.’ Generally speaking, to move in quick and irregular motions is also to flutter and so is to follow an aimless course. If a heart flutters, it means it beats quickly. As a noun, a flutter is fluttering movement, and also a state of excitement or agitation or a sudden commotion.

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Other forms

aflutter (adjective)


Flutter dates back to before the year 1000. The Old English verb floterian, and later the Middle English floteren, emerged as a frequentative of the Old English verb flotian (to float or rest on the surface of the water). It originally meant ‘to flutter’ (usually about birds), ‘to fly before something,’ ‘to flicker,’ ‘to float to and fro,’ and ‘to be tossed by waves.’ 

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