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EnglishEdit

PronunciationEdit

 
A pet brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). A rat would make a skittering sound (sense 2) if it ran on a hard surface.

Etymology 1Edit

Possibly a frequentative of skite (to move lightly and hurriedly; to move suddenly, particularly in an oblique direction) (Scotland, Northern England). The noun is derived from the verb.

VerbEdit

skitter (third-person singular simple present skitters, present participle skittering, simple past and past participle skittered)

  1. (intransitive) To move hurriedly or as by bouncing or twitching; to scamper, to scurry.
    I opened the cabinet and a number of cockroaches went skittering off into the darkness.
    • 1882, Theodore Roosevelt, “Waterfowl”, in Hunting Trips of a Ranchman; Hunting Trips on the Prairie and in the Mountains, New York, N.Y.; London: The Co-operative Publication Society, OCLC 864725939; republished as Hunting Trips of a Ranchman: Sketches of Sport on the Northern Cattle Plains, Medora edition, New York, N.Y.; London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Knickerbocker Press, 1885, OCLC 15363308, page 56:
      Some kinds of ducks in lighting strike the water with their tails first, and skitter along the surface for a few feet before settling down.
  2. (intransitive) To make a scratching or scuttling noise while, or as if, skittering.
    • 2017 January 20, Annie Zaleski, “AFI Sounds Refreshed and Rejuvenated on Its 10th Album, AFI (The Blood Album)”, in The A.V. Club[1]:
      Both "Dark Snow" and "Aurelia" [by AFI] feature subtle washes of brittle piano à la Decemberunderground, while "She Speaks The Language" boasts a skittering electronic underbelly, and eerie synths are suspended like low clouds in "Above The Bridge."
  3. (transitive) To move or pass (something) over a surface quickly so that it touches only at intervals; to skip, to skite.
    • 1883, James A[lexander] Henshall, “Black Bass Fishing”, in Alfred M[arshall] Mayer, editor, Sport with Gun and Rod in American Woods and Waters, New York, N.Y.: The Century Company, OCLC 1158760, page 394:
      "Skittering," continued the Professor, "is practiced with a strong line about the length of the rod, to which is affixed a small trolling-spoon, a minnow, or a piece of pork-rind cut in the rude semblance of a small fish. The boat is poled along, as in ‘bobbing,’ but farther out in the stream, when the angler, standing in the bow, ‘skitters’ or skips the spoon or bait over the surface just at the edge of the weeds.
SynonymsEdit
TranslationsEdit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

NounEdit

skitter (plural skitters)

  1. (also figuratively) A skittering movement.
    A skitter of activity.
    A skitter of gooseflesh.

Etymology 2Edit

A frequentative of skite (to defecate, to shit) (archaic, vulgar). The noun is derived from the verb.

VerbEdit

skitter (third-person singular simple present skitters, present participle skittering, simple past and past participle skittered)

  1. (Scotland, Northern England, transitive) To cause to have diarrhea.
    • 1970, James Herriot [pseudonym; James Alfred Wright], If Only They Could Talk, London: Michael Joseph, ISBN 978-0-7181-0763-5:
      "[…] I'd like you to give the calves two heaped tablespoonfuls [of Epsom salts] three times a day." / "Oh 'ell, you'll skitter the poor buggers to death!" / "Maybe so, but there's nothing else for it," I said.
  2. (Scotland, Northern England, intransitive) To suffer from a bout of diarrhea; to produce thin excrement.

NounEdit

skitter (plural skitters)

  1. (Scotland, Northern England, uncountable) Often skitters: the condition of suffering from diarrhea; thin excrement.