cus·​pi·​dor | \ ˈkə-spə-ˌdȯr How to pronounce cuspidor (audio) \

Definition of cuspidor

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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.

Examples of cuspidor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Hurney embellishing every point with a wave of his makeshift cuspidor; Rivera stern and square, arms folded tightly, mouth a straight line. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Hurney-Rivera bond brought Cam Newton to Panthers. What it brings now can be bigger. | Charlotte Observer," 9 Mar. 2018 Buckets, cuspidors and other containers were gathered up and placed about the floor and on the judge's bench to prevent as much damage as possible. Scott Harrison,, "From the Archives: Clogged drain floods courtroom in 1926," 14 Feb. 2018

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

First Known Use of cuspidor

1735, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cuspidor

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

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The first known use of cuspidor was in 1735

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of or relating to the heavens

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