English "jitter" from German "zittern"?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Dec 24 21:18:03 UTC 2006

Here is the Yiddish word, here written "tsitern", same as German "zittern":


Here is an example of what I believe is the same Yiddish word, used as an
English word in English text:


<<An acclaimed Israeli silversmith has added a whimsical feature to his
intricate statues: when you tap them, the figures bobble (tsittering with
joy!) on their stands.>>

[Here is another example, I think, maybe:


<<Yes --my own epiphany came when npr devoted an entire half-hour of _All
Things Tsittered_ (as my philosemitic wife calls it) to discussing the fact
that the public wasn't interested in news on the Clinton scandals.>>]

Was "tsitter" used in this way in the US English of Yiddish-speakers
pre-1929? No reason to doubt it, I guess.

Did US speakers of various types of German make an 'English' verb with the
same pronunciation? No reason to doubt it, I guess.

Did persons of British (e.g., Scots) origin use "chitter" in the US with
about the same meaning? No reason to doubt it, I guess.

-- Doug Wilson

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