Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jitterbug v.

[jitterbug n.]

1. (US) to fool around.

[US]Drake & Cayton Black Metropolis 456: While they doin’ this, the lazy Negro is jitterbuggin’.
[US]H. Williamson Hustler 183: ‘You’re just jitter-buggin’ [f.n.] down there with them three bricks. I bet that’s how the police caught you. You were too lazy to run!’ [f.n. To jitter-bug—to fool around].

2. (US black) to saunter, to swagger; thus jitterbugging.

H. Ellson Duke 71: Walk calm. No jitterbugging [...] Look like a nice regular boy.
[US]T.C. Bambara ‘Playing with Punjab’ in Gorilla, My Love (1972) 71: Hot in all the usual ways, but no jitterbugging.
[UK]P. Baker Blood Posse 209: They strolled down the block cool and calm like they lived there. The cops [...] sped off down the block, blind to the two jitterbugging Puerto Ricans.

3. (US, also jitterhop) to participate in gang fighting; thus jitterbugging n., a gang fight.

[US]H. Salisbury Shook-Up Generation (1961) 45: He himself never jitterbugged until he was thirteen or fourteen. Then he was drafted by the Cobra Juniors.
[US]E. De Roo Big Rumble 86: Most of them had enough experience fighting for the Scratchers every time Big Tony got the yen for a jitterbugging on Friday or Saturday night.
[US]T.M. Kochman ‘The Kinetic Element in Black Idiom’ in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 161: Some words and expressions referring to fighting embody purely kinetic elements, such as ‘swinging out’ and ‘jitter-hopping’.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 83: He steered back around to old times and stickball and jitterbuggin’.

4. (US black) to lie to, to deceive.

[US]R.D. Abrahams ‘Black Talking on the Streets’ in Bauman & Sherzer Ethnography of Speaking 256: For my Philadelphia informants [. . .] the most common term at that time [c. 1970] for shucking was jiving, or, among the older people, jitterbugging or bugging .