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


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 '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 When the bodies were being carried out, two of the girls turned out to still be alive, spluttering and coughing before being stabbed into silence. Simon Sebag Montefiore, Town & Country, "The Devastating True Story of the Romanov Family's Execution," 5 Oct. 2016 Inconsolable, Atari sets off, at the controls of a spluttering airplane, in search of Spots. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "“Tomb Raider” and “Isle of Dogs,” Reviewed," 15 Mar. 2018 Make no bones about it: Everton require further firepower to prevent their season from continually spluttering, and Niasse could be the man capable of providing the goals. SI.com, "Why it's Time for Ronald Koeman to Bring Oumar Niasse Back in From the Everton Cold," 21 Sep. 2017 The machine, which must have been cobbled together in the underground, chuffed and spluttered smokily. WIRED, "What Happens When an Algorithm Helps Write Science Fiction," 11 Dec. 2017 Milan have spluttered so far this season despite Montella being handed a transfer warchest in the summer - an outlay that led to 11 new arrivals heading through the door at San Siro. SI.com, "Montella Handed Just Two Games to Save Job as Milan Line Up Club Legend as Potential Replacement," 31 Oct. 2017

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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The first known use of splutter was in 1677

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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transposition of initial sounds of words

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