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Titter – To Sneer or Giggle

May 26, 2022

Titter / noun / tit·ter

We use the word “titter” to describe the sound of a forced or muffled laugh. We use “titter” as both a noun and a verb in English. When used as a verb, “titter” represents suppressed laughter. As a noun, it has a similar meaning, representing a “short, suppressed” laugh. Most of us are likely to “titter” in situations where we’re instructed to be quiet. High school students passing notes in class and trying to remain unseen or heard by the teacher is a classic example of “tittering” in action. We often “Titter” in secret to repress inappropriate or untimely laughter.


We see the first use of the word “titter” in the early 16th-century around 1610. Etymologists say we introduced the word “titter” into language with the definition of “suppressing nervous giggling or laughter.” The definition of the word hasn’t changed since we began using it.

In a Sentence

The young couple “tittering” in the back of the movie theater were disturbing other moviegoers with their laughter.

She started to “titter” when she realized the absurdity of the situation.

Sometimes, it’s more polite to “titter” than to have a loud and inappropriate outburst of laughter.


Giggle, Sneer


Grimace, Pout

1 Comment

  1. Dix Pettey

    1610 is early 17th Century, not early 16th Century


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