flutter

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a flutter in the dovecote

A stir or mild disturbance among a certain organization or group of people, especially one that is typically quiet, reserved, or conservative in nature. Likened to domestic pigeons fluttering their wings in response to an agitation (a dovecote being a structure built to house and raise them). The unexpected entrance of an exuberant young woman caused a bit of a flutter in the dovecote at the old Men's Only club.
See also: dovecote, flutter

flutter the dovecote

To cause a stir or mild disturbance among a certain organization or group of people, especially one that is typically quiet, reserved, or conservative in nature. Likened to domestic pigeons fluttering their wings in response to an agitation (a dovecote being a structure built to house and raise them). The exuberant young woman fluttered the dovecote of the old Men's Only club by bursting in unannounced.
See also: dovecote, flutter

in a flutter

In a nervous, confused, or agitated state. We were all in a flutter waiting to meet the President at our school rally. The economy is still in a flutter after news that the country's largest corporation has filed for bankruptcy.
See also: flutter

flutter about

 and flutter around 
1. Lit. to fly about with quick, flapping motions of the wings. The moths fluttered about aimlessly. A few birds fluttered around.
2. Fig. [for someone] to move about quickly and busily. Aunt Margaret fluttered about, picking up after everyone. Stop fluttering around and sit down!
See also: flutter

flutter about something

 and flutter around something 
1. Lit. to fly around something or some place. The moths were fluttering about the lightbulb. The butterflies fluttered around the bright flowers.
2. Fig. to keep moving busily within a particular place. The maid fluttered about the house, dusting and arranging. She fluttered around the house from room to room.
See also: flutter

flutter down

[for flying or falling things] to flap or float downward. The butterflies fluttered down onto the flowers. The leaves fluttered down from the trees when the breeze blew.
See also: down, flutter

flutter over someone or something

to fly or flap above someone or something. (Also said of a person being fussy about someone or something.) The little moths fluttered over us while we were in the garden. The birds flutter over the fountain, eager for a bath.
See also: flutter

in a dither

confused; nervous; bothered. Mary is sort of in a dither lately. Don't get yourself in a dither.
See also: dither

in a dither

Also, all of a dither; in a flutter or tizzy . In a state of tremulous agitation, as in Planning the wedding put her in a dither, or He tried to pull himself together, but he was all of a dither, or She showed up in such a flutter that our meeting was useless. The noun dither dates from the early 1800s and goes back to the Middle English verb didderen, "to tremble"; in a flutter dates from the mid-1700s; in a tizzy dates from about 1930 and is of uncertain origin.
See also: dither

in a dither

mod. confused; undecided. Don’t get yourself in a dither.
See also: dither
References in classic literature ?
At the same moment the bird fluttered down upon the hat and once more sat snugly on her eggs.
But the unfortunate trade wind again fluttered her skirt, and again he backed away--not so far, this time, with much less of a bristle of his neck and shoulder hair, and with no more of a snarl than a mere half-baring of his fangs.
No plume or nobloy fluttered from his plain tilting salade, and even his lance was devoid of the customary banderole.
She caught herself with a quick beat of wings, fluttered about undecidedly for a space, then rose in the air.
And there, in so strange sepulchre, his spirit fluttered and lived.
Tiny birds twittered, and now and then fluttered from tree to tree.
With the scream, Mary crouched down, and the strange creature, darting into the air, fluttered full into the startled face of a woman at the next board.
A scene from the film shot atop a New York City subway vent, in which Monroe's white dress is fluttered upward by gushing air from a passing train made the actress a superstar.
Only 4% of bar staff said customers who fluttered a fiver in their direction would get their drinks more quickly.
The building groaned and creaked, the candles fluttered and sizzled, bees and flies bounced off the windows.