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twitch

To twitch is to make a very sudden, brief, unintentional movement. Your eye muscles might start to twitch when you're extremely tired.

Back in the 12th century, instead of using the word twitch, you would've used to-twic-chen, which was defined as "pulling apart with a quick jerk." It stemmed from the Old English twiccian, "to pluck, gather, or catch hold of." Today, we use twitch as a noun too, to mean the jerky spasm itself: "She tried not to laugh, but he could see a twitch in her lip."

Definitions of twitch
  1. verb
    make an uncontrolled, short, jerky motion
    “his face is twitching
    synonyms: jerk
    jerk
    move with abrupt, seemingly uncontrolled motions
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    types:
    fibrillate
    make fine, irregular, rapid twitching movements
    type of:
    move involuntarily, move reflexively
    move in an uncontrolled manner
  2. verb
    move with abrupt, seemingly uncontrolled motions
    synonyms: jerk
    jerk
    make an uncontrolled, short, jerky motion
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    type of:
    move
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  3. verb
    move or pull with a sudden motion
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    types:
    skitter
    twitch the hook of a fishing line through or along the surface of water
    type of:
    draw, force, pull
    cause to move by pulling
  4. verb
    toss with a sharp movement so as to cause to turn over in the air
    synonyms: flip
    see moresee less
    type of:
    move
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  5. verb
    squeeze tightly between the fingers
    synonyms: nip, pinch, squeeze, tweet, twinge
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    types:
    goose
    pinch in the buttocks
    tweak
    pinch or squeeze sharply
    type of:
    grip
    hold fast or firmly
  6. noun
    a sudden muscle spasm; especially one caused by a nervous condition
    synonyms: twitching, vellication
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    types:
    show 6 types...
    hide 6 types...
    tic
    a local and habitual twitching especially in the face
    blepharism
    condition in which a person blinks continuously
    fibrillation
    muscular twitching involving individual muscle fibers acting without coordination
    fasciculation
    muscular twitching of contiguous groups of muscle fibers
    atrial fibrillation
    fibrillation of the muscles of the atria of the heart
    ventricular fibrillation
    fibrillation of heart muscles resulting in interference with rhythmic contractions of the ventricles and possibly leading to cardiac arrest
    type of:
    cramp, muscle spasm, spasm
    a painful and involuntary muscular contraction
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