1 of 2


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

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 up
Too many signs were cluttering up the street corner.


2 of 2


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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Parking meters, however, are inefficient eyesores cluttering streets. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Nov. 2023 In classrooms cluttered with props, green screens, costumes, lighting equipment, whiteboards and iPads for shooting and editing videos, Morrison said the kids find a place to explore their film and video passions. Taylor Lorenz, Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2023 Without the large bins cluttering the overhead space, first-class fliers will be able to stand and move more freely inside their suites without crouching or worrying about hitting their heads. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, 4 Oct. 2023 And Jones too often clutters up scenes with body doubles mimicking motions of the dramatis personae. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 4 Aug. 2023 Many hand mixers come with long cords and multiple accessories, which can clutter your kitchen if they’re not stored properly. Rachel Center, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 June 2023 There’s a pretty general opinion current in certain well advertised circles that human beings of the advanced 20-plus are simply cluttering up the earth—at least that nothing interesting ever happens to them. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 July 2023 That’s one less extra cord cluttering your nightstand. Allison Morrow, CNN, 12 Sep. 2023 But if the package contains a Spider-Man costume for a Halloween party or a brochure for a sale, there is no need to clutter the house with it. Saugat Bolakhe, Quanta Magazine, 30 Aug. 2023
There are good reasons to try to become more organized, too, given that living with clutter or messiness can cause stress. Stacey Colino, Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2023 The reunion takes a turn after their estranged brother, Franz, appears, alongside mysterious objects that begin to be discovered among their father’s clutter. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Oct. 2023 In other words, the amount of melanin content in the skin could be associated with more clutter. Kaitlyn Schwanemann, CNN, 16 Oct. 2023 Quiet the Scene: Shira minimizes visual clutter with a tight color palette, subtle patterns, and clear surfaces. Laura Fenton, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 Nov. 2023 There was no shortage of ideas shared about how to handle cherished clutter, from creating an album of photos of trophies and awards to choosing five to ten of the most important items, and donating the rest to a community organization or school. Melissa Willets, Parents, 30 Oct. 2023 Tired of Instagram-perfect lifestyles, more families are normalizing the clutter and letting their houses look lived-in, online and IRL. Tanay Howard, Parents, 3 Nov. 2023 Controlling the clutter became even more of a struggle when Steve added a haunted house. Liz Vaccariello, Better Homes & Gardens, 24 Oct. 2023 Colorful Appliances Take the Spotlight in Today's Kitchens Homeowners are increasingly looking to open up their kitchens while concealing clutter, and the demand for customization is on the rise. Christianna Silva, Better Homes & Gardens, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clutter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English clotteren to clot, from clot

First Known Use


1556, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of clutter was in 1556

Dictionary Entries Near clutter

Cite this Entry

“Clutter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
clut·​ter ˈklət-ər How to pronounce clutter (audio)
: to fill or cover with a disorderly scattering of things
clutter up a room


2 of 2 noun
: a crowded or confused collection

More from Merriam-Webster on clutter

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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