From Middle English twicchen, from Old English *twiċċan, from Proto-West Germanic *twikkijan (“to nail, pin, fasten, clasp, pinch”).
Cognate with English tweak, Low German twikken, German Low German twicken (“to pinch, pinch off”), zweckōn and gizwickan (> German zwicken (“to pinch”)).
twitch (countable and uncountable, plural twitches)
- A brief, small (sometimes involuntary) movement out of place and then back again; a spasm.
- I saw a little twitch in the man's face, and knew he was lying.
- (informal) Action of spotting or seeking out a bird, especially a rare one.
- (farriery) A stick with a hole in one end through which passes a loop, which can be drawn tightly over the upper lip or an ear of a horse and twisted to keep the animal quiet during minor surgery.
- Synonym: barnacle
- 1861, John Henry Walsh, The Horse in the Stable and in the Field:
- THE TWITCH is a short stick of strong ash, about the size of a mopstick, with a hole pierced near the end, through which is passed a piece of strong but small cord, and tied in a loop large enough to admit the open hand freely.
- (physiology) A brief, contractile response of a skeletal muscle elicited by a single maximal volley of impulses in the neurons supplying it.
- (mining) The sudden narrowing almost to nothing of a vein of ore.
- (birdwatching) A trip taken in order to observe a rare bird.
brief, small (sometimes involuntary) movement out of place and then back again
action of bird spotting
(physiology) muscle contraction
twitch (third-person singular simple present twitches, present participle twitching, simple past and past participle twitched)
- (intransitive) To perform a twitch; spasm.
- His fingers were nervously twitching.
- (transitive) To cause to twitch; spasm.
- 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit:
- Their feet padded softly on the ground, and they crept quite close to him, twitching their noses...
- (transitive) To jerk sharply and briefly.
- to twitch somebody's sleeve for attention
- 1714, Alexander Pope, “The Rape of the Lock”, in The Works of Mr. Alexander Pope, volume I, London: […] W[illiam] Bowyer, for Bernard Lintot, […], published 1717, →OCLC, canto III:
- Thrice they twitched the diamond in her ear.
- (obsolete) To exert oneself. [15th–17th c.]
- (transitive) To spot or seek out a bird, especially a rare one.
- 1995, Quarterly Review of Biology, volume 70, page 348:
- "The Birdwatchers Handbook ... will be a clear asset to those who 'twitch' in Europe."
- When used of birdwatchers by outsiders, this term frequently carries a negative connotation.
to perform a twitch; spasm
to jerk sharply and briefly
to spot a bird
- → Dutch: twitchen
alternate of quitch
- couch grass (Elymus repens; a species of grass, often considered as a weed)
Elymus repens — see couch grass