Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(give/get) the jitters

give the jittersget the jitters
Meaning(s)
1) cause in someone or personally experience a temporary feeling of fear or nervousness
  • How to MemorizePopularity MediumProfessional HighSocial
    • get the jitters before giving a speech
  • Analysis

    The verb 'jitter' refers to a movement which is irregular, unsteady or shaky, particularly with an electrical signal. If someone 'has the jitters', therefore, it means they are shaky or unsteady due to nervousness. When you have the jitters you can be fidgety, nervous, or find it hard to remain calm. This is an informal phrase.


  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. Luke had a bad case of pre-wedding jitters. He almost didn't show up at the church!
    2. I always get the jitters when my Dad is around. He makes me so nervous.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. I always get the jitters just before a big presentation. I'm usually fine once I'm speaking, though.
    2. Every time the boss walks into the office she gives me the jitters. She's not someone you would want to get on the wrong side of!
    3. Mary got a bit jittery during her interview, but she did enough to impress the panel. 
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