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

Example Sentences

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
When to toss: Now Why toss it: Stacks of business cards can quickly pile up and clutter your desk space. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 Jan. 2023 Similar idea, different participants (i.e., the other people who clutter up your house). Petra Guglielmetti, Glamour, 9 Jan. 2023 The idea isn't to clutter up the garden, but to use these as practical objects of beauty. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 30 Nov. 2022 Signs of his commercial roots clutter the modest apartment that serves as his studio, with skateboards, greeting cards, mugs, flip-flops, soccer balls and sweatshirts imprinted with images from his artwork strewn across several rooms. Motoko Rich, New York Times, 7 Oct. 2022 No need to clutter the children with data that doesn’t matter. Lauren Sigfusson, Discover Magazine, 12 Sep. 2017 But the rise of mega constellations also threatens to clutter the night sky, cripple the work of some astronomers and create space debris that harms people on Earth and in space alike. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, 24 Nov. 2022 But pressure came up the middle with defensive tackle Maliek Collins knifing between Larry Borom and Lucas Patrick to clutter the pocket. Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune, 27 Sep. 2022 The number of potential people who fill this theoretical future can’t be counted without recourse to the factored numbers that clutter so much longtermist literature. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, 24 Oct. 2022
Less clutter also means fewer potential distractions, so keep your reading, electronics, and work in another room. Give pets their own beds. Good Housekeeping, 6 Jan. 2023 On the laminate countertop was the clutter that never graced a #cleanroom post. Maggie Gillette, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 Jan. 2023 What's a better surprise than knowing that bonus room is finally getting painted or there's an appointment for someone to clear out all the clutter in the garage? Isis Briones, House Beautiful, 21 Dec. 2022 And for more than half of us, all that clutter is causing unnecessary anxiety. Eric Griffith, PCMAG, 19 Dec. 2022 Officials are getting spooked by all the extra clutter. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, 11 Nov. 2022 Severe clutter in the home gave crews some issues in navigating inside. Kaylee Remington, cleveland, 29 Oct. 2022 Starting at level 3, clutter can span from floor to ceiling. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 17 Mar. 2022 And yet, like a cupboard stuffed to bursting with clutter, Francine’s most unruly fantasies will never be fully contained. Lili Owen Rowlands, The New Yorker, 29 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

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 27 Jan. 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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