cuspidor

noun cus·pi·dor \ ˈkə-spə-ˌdȯr \

Definition of cuspidor

cuspidor was our Word of the Day on 02/28/2011. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Cuspidor entered English in the early 18th century via the Portuguese word cuspidouro, meaning "place for spitting." The Portuguese word, unsurprisingly, has its origins in Latin: the word conspuere comes from the prefix com- and spuere, meaning "to spit." ("Spuere" is also the source of "spew" and sputum.) Since the early 19th century, "cuspidor" has been competing with (and losing to) "spittoon," but "cuspidor" beats "spittoon" in one particular category: the receptacle for spit at a dentist's office is more often referred to by the older word.

Origin and Etymology of cuspidor

Portuguese cuspidouro place for spitting, from cuspir to spit, from Latin conspuere, from com- + spuere to spit — more at spew


Learn More about cuspidor


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up cuspidor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

spoken rather than written

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!