clut·​ter | \ ˈklə-tər How to pronounce clutter (audio) \
cluttered; cluttering; clutters

Definition of clutter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

chiefly dialectal : to run in disorder

transitive verb

: to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness a room cluttered with toys often used with upToo many signs were cluttering up the street corner.



Definition of clutter (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a crowded or confused mass or collection a clutter of motels and restaurants
b : things that clutter a place tried to minimize the unnecessary clutter in her house
2 : interfering radar echoes caused by reflection from objects (as on the ground) other than the target
3 chiefly dialectal : disturbance, hubbub

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Examples of clutter in a Sentence

Verb The garage was cluttered with tools. Try to avoid cluttering your desk with books and papers. Noun There's a lot of unnecessary clutter in the house. a scrapbook that was a clutter of snapshots, diary entries, letters, and newspaper clippings
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Settling into Knopf’s cluttered Park Avenue offices with the carefree aplomb of a court jester, the black-bearded boss seemed amusedly uninterested in literary power and the genteel back-stabbing politics of the publishing world. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Sonny Mehta, Venerable Knopf Publisher, Is Dead at 77," 31 Dec. 2019 This is a requirement unique to Chicago, and imposed because the city wanted to avoid the problem of dockless bikes left in piles or cluttering sidewalks, which has happened in other cities. Mary Wisniewski,, "Ofo pulls its dockless bikes from Chicago because of locking rules," 9 July 2018 This was a bad idea, if for no other reason than that these groups clutter the theme, which is advocacy for women, not sideshows like glaciers that are supposed to be melting but never do, or Trayvon Martin. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "The Art of Posters," 11 Jan. 2020 The glass wall behind his chair was festooned with pink doodles made by his 9-year-old daughter, and the room was cluttered with relics of his work, including a square blue robot, a drone, and a gaming computer with a high-powered graphics card. Annie Marie Musselman, Smithsonian, "Inventor Alex Kipman’s Grand Vision for How Holograms Will Change Our Lives," 19 Nov. 2019 Supporters of the city’s ordinance say regulations are needed to ensure public health and prevent vendors from cluttering right of way. San Diego Union-Tribune, "City seeks input on proposed sidewalk vending ordinance," 14 Oct. 2019 Plus, there’s nothing better than a kitchen appliance that eliminates the need for multiple devices cluttering your kitchen. Chelsey Hamilton,, "PSA: You Can Snag The Top-Rated Instant Pot for Just $50—but Hurry, the Sale Ends Tonight," 16 July 2019 For many, that fresh start begins when a look around the house or apartment or room reveals a space cluttered with objects that seem neither useful nor beautiful. oregonlive, "Among these antiques, midcentury modern trumps Civil War: Today’s Collectibles," 3 Jan. 2020 There's no need to clutter up the crowded latent space with information that doesn't change from one image to another. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "I created my own deepfake—it took two weeks and cost $552," 16 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But a power strip with cord that is too long causes excess clutter. The Editors, Field & Stream, "3 Features You Need in a Power Strip," 8 Jan. 2020 Bartleby will admit that his own desk is a byword for clutter. The Economist, "Hot desk, cold comfort," 26 Sep. 2019 That people attribute greater responsibility for housework to women than men, even regardless of their employment situation, suggests that women get penalized more often for clutter than men do. The Conversation,, "Women judged more harshly than men for a messy house," 7 July 2019 But even amid the clutter of 500-some scripted and countless unscripted series, there’s plenty to be excited about, including originals from nascent (or still-to-be-launched) platforms like Apple TV+, HBO Max and Quibi. Los Angeles Times, "Our 20 most eagerly awaited TV shows of 2020," 1 Jan. 2020 The New Zealand lesser short‐tailed bat is perhaps the master of hunting amid clutter. Jake Buehler, National Geographic, "This bat tunes into raucous frog serenades to locate dinner," 3 Oct. 2019 Its interior is light, bright, airy and clutter free. Kyle Patton, azcentral, "A house full of memories and amazing views in Paradise Valley. Take a look," 21 Nov. 2019 The thrum of daily life gets a little much when the noise in your head is just aural clutter. Catharine Hamm,, "Escapes: The joy of uninvited guests who come along for the ride," 13 June 2019 But a professional sweep of a home or an office can range from $1,500 to more than $10,000, depending on the size of the space, the number of nooks and crannies, and the amount of clutter. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, "Is a tiny spy eyeing you? How to find hidden gear," 24 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'clutter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of clutter


1556, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for clutter

Verb and Noun

Middle English clotteren to clot, from clot

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Time Traveler for clutter

Time Traveler

The first known use of clutter was in 1556

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Statistics for clutter

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Clutter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for clutter


How to pronounce clutter (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of clutter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to fill or cover (something) with many things : to fill or cover (something) with clutter



English Language Learners Definition of clutter (Entry 2 of 2)

: a large amount of things that are not arranged in a neat or orderly way : a crowded or disordered collection of things


clut·​ter | \ ˈklə-tər How to pronounce clutter (audio) \
cluttered; cluttering

Kids Definition of clutter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to fill or cover with scattered things



Kids Definition of clutter (Entry 2 of 2)

: a collection of scattered things

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