(give/get) the jitters


1. cause in someone or personally experience a temporary feeling of fear or nervousness






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get the jitters before giving a speech

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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.

Check Icon 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.

Check Icon 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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