splut·​ter | \ ˈsplə-tər How to pronounce splutter (audio) \

Definition of splutter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a confused noise (as of hasty speaking)
2 : a splashing or sputtering sound


spluttered; spluttering; splutters

Definition of splutter (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to utter hastily or confusedly : stammer

intransitive verb

1 : to make a noise as if spitting
2 : to speak hastily and confusedly

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Other Words from splutter


splutterer \ ˈsplə-​tər-​ər How to pronounce splutterer (audio) \ noun

Examples of splutter in a Sentence

Verb She coughed and spluttered as she climbed out of the icy water. When I demanded an explanation, he just stood there spluttering. “Th-that's simply not true,” he spluttered.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some golden generations splutter and cough and, sealed in a bubble of entitlement, never come close to delivering. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "Trophy Window Suddenly Shrinks for Belgium's Golden Generation," 10 July 2018 Government revenue can’t keep up with spending as the economy splutters and politicians squabble before May elections. Donna Abu-nasr, Bloomberg.com, "It Could Be Crunch Time for World's Third Most-Indebted Country," 5 Mar. 2018 An often excruciating speech was punctuated by coughs, splutters and brief interludes to sip water. James Masters, CNN, "Theresa May's nightmare speech: a prankster, a lost voice and a stage set fail," 4 Oct. 2017 Its hostility to outsiders splutters on, Griffin's unstinting production (music direction is by Michael Mahler and choreography by Ericka Mac) seems to be saying. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "In Glencoe, a reminder that 'Parade' won't pass us by," 1 June 2017 No doubt this debate will rage, or splutter, for years to come. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Reading Jane Austen’s Final, Unfinished Novel," 13 Mar. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Dangerous Idea at the Heart of Trump's Acquittal Trump’s allies spluttered with rage and scorn. David French, Time, "Mitt Romney’s Honorable Stand Reaffirmed the Wisdom of Impeaching Trump," 6 Feb. 2020 Barcelona's attacking three coughed and spluttered at times, but not Suarez. SI.com, "Barcelona 2-1 Inter: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Brilliant Luis Suarez Sees Off Serie A Leaders," 2 Oct. 2019 Wolves have been spluttering all over the place this season, but now have two wins on the trot in all competitions following their last gasp victory over Besiktas. SI.com, "Europa League Roundup: Martinelli-Inspired Arsenal Win, Rangers Beaten by Young Boys," 3 Oct. 2019 Aside from the risk of stumbling unawares into street battles and clouds of police tear gas — as some tourists have to their coughing, spluttering dismay — Hong Kong remains a pleasant city. Washington Post, "In protest clouds, Hong Kong tourists see silver lining," 18 Oct. 2019 Aside from the risk of stumbling unawares into street battles and clouds of police tear gas — as some tourists have to their coughing, spluttering dismay — Hong Kong remains a pleasant city. San Diego Union-Tribune, "In protest clouds, Hong Kong tourists see silver lining," 18 Oct. 2019 The 'Baby-Faced Assassin' flattered to deceive at Manchester United, initially looking like the messiah before his Red Devils side started to splutter and choke. SI.com, "7 Players Who Returned to Their Former Club as Manager & How They Fared," 17 June 2019 Those eagerly anticipating their next dividend check might be spluttering into their latte in horror at these views. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "GE Shows What Happens When Dividend Investing Goes Wrong," 1 Nov. 2018 However, the Swans have spluttered in recent weeks and know that conceding the first goal could prove to be damaging against a more resilient Blues outfit of late. SI.com, "Swansea City vs Everton Preview: Last Meeting, Recent Form, Team News & More," 13 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of splutter


1677, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1693, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for splutter


probably alteration of sputter

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Time Traveler for splutter

Time Traveler

The first known use of splutter was in 1677

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Statistics for splutter

Cite this Entry

“Splutter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/splutter. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for splutter



English Language Learners Definition of splutter

: to make a series of short, loud noises like the noises of someone who is struggling to breathe
: to say (something) in short, confused phrases


splut·​ter | \ ˈsplə-tər How to pronounce splutter (audio) \
spluttered; spluttering

Kids Definition of splutter

1 : to make a noise as if spitting The engine spluttered.
2 : to speak or say in haste or confusion

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More from Merriam-Webster on splutter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for splutter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with splutter

Spanish Central: Translation of splutter

Britannica English: Translation of splutter for Arabic Speakers

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