smat·​ter·​ing ˈsma-tə-riŋ How to pronounce smattering (audio)
: superficial piecemeal knowledge
a smattering of carpentry, house painting, bricklayingAlva Johnston
: a small scattered number or amount
a smattering of spectators

Examples of smattering in a Sentence

She only knows a smattering of German. a smattering of guests at the art exhibit
Recent Examples on the Web This white artificial tree stands at 7 feet tall and features a smattering of soft white lights to elevate your space. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 20 Nov. 2023 It's all topped off with a layer of melty Cheddar cheese, more bacon, and a smattering of scallions for a bright, oniony finish. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 4 Nov. 2023 Expect smatterings of New England leaves to be on display throughout the journey. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Sep. 2023 At Tuesday’s ceremony in Los Angeles City Hall, Council member Nithya Raman, who represents the district that includes Hollywoodland, introduced the official proclamation to a smattering of applause. Reis Thebault, Washington Post, 2 Nov. 2023 The island has a small smattering of quaint hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, but this is the type of place to settle into a house rental for barbecuing in the yard and feasting on oysters available at nearby farms between April and November. Sara Lieberman, Travel + Leisure, 25 Oct. 2023 Outside of the eighth-grade chapters specific to recent climate change, the subject appears in a smattering of other places but not always robustly. Katie Worth, Scientific American, 13 Oct. 2023 In the season’s final moments, a smattering of news clips confirm a meningitis outbreak linked to tainted saw palmetto berry extract, just as Jillian had feared. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Aug. 2023 Past the velvety, golden lid of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam eyeshadow palette is a glorious spread of warm hues, romantic purples and pinks, and a smattering of shimmery metallics — all tied together with a few dark shades to add some depth to the spectrum. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 21 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of smattering was in 1538

Dictionary Entries Near smattering

Cite this Entry

“Smattering.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


smat·​ter·​ing ˈsmat-ə-riŋ How to pronounce smattering (audio)
: a small amount of knowledge
a smattering of French
: a small scattered number

More from Merriam-Webster on smattering

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