I’ve long had in my mind what “dithering” looks like: a wandering of mind. An openness. A slowing. Feels like… puttering.
Words and their meanings change over time in a collective way. Flip through an old dictionary or site of etymology to witness that; it’s just strange when a contraction of that process happens within your own self, within some short years.
So I had to look up the word, set some dictionary definition next to it, instead of my lived-definition.
From a site called vocabulary.com: dither is a verb that means be undecided or uncertain.
When you dither, you’re flustered because you can’t make up your mind about something. You might dither about what to do if your two best friends invite you to parties on the same night.
The verb dither implies not only that you’re having a hard time deciding about something, but that you’re upset or agitated about it. You might say to your friend, “Don’t just pace around and dither about what to wear! We’re going to be late!” In the 17th century, dither meant “quake or tremble,” and by the early 1800s it came to mean both “vacillate” and “be anxious.”
Is this the word I wanted?
The question we ask ourselves. Every day.