- A minor malfunction, mishap, or technical problem; a snag: a computer glitch; a navigational glitch; a glitch in the negotiations.
- A false or spurious electronic signal caused by a brief, unwanted surge of electric power.
- Astronomy A sudden change in the period of rotation of a neutron star.
Origin of glitch Probably from
Yiddish glitsh a slip, lapse from glitshn to slip from
Middle High German glitschen alteration of glīten to glide from
Old High German glītan
; see ghel-2
in Indo-European roots.
Related Forms:Word History:
One of the two earliest known appearances of the word glitch
is found in John Glenn's contribution to the book Into Orbit
(1962), an account of Project Mercury (the United States' first human spaceflight program) by the seven astronauts who participated: “Another term we adopted to describe some of our problems was 'glitch.'”
Glenn then gives the technical sense of the word the astronauts had adopted: “Literally, a glitch is a spike or change in voltage in an electrical current.”
The word may have already been in use by engineers and other specialists for some time, though. Later in the book, it is explained again and is simply said to be a slang word for a “hitch.” Since the appearance of the term in the context of electronics, glitch
has passed beyond technical use and now covers a wide variety of malfunctions and mishaps.
- A problem affecting function; a bug; an imperfection; a quirk
- They are still trying to work out all the glitches.
- (video games) A bug or an exploit.
- Performing this glitch gives you extra lives.
- (music) A genre of experimental electronic music of the 1990s, characterized by a deliberate use of sonic artifacts that would normally be viewed as unwanted noise.
(third-person singular simple present glitches, present participle glitching, simple past and past participle glitched)
- To experience an intermittent, unexpected, malfunction
- My computer keeps glitching; every couple of hours it just reboots without warning.
- (video games) To perform an exploit or recreate a bug while playing a video game.
- His character will glitch into the wall and out of the level.
Probably from Yiddish גליטש (glitsch), from dialectical German glitschig (“slippy”), from glitsch (“slide, glide, slip”) + -ig (“-y”). Related to gleiten (“glide”).
Popularized 1960s, by US space program. Attested 1962 by American astronaut John Glenn, in reference to spikes in electrical current.