sputter

verb
sput·​ter | \ ˈspə-tər How to pronounce sputter (audio) \
sputtered; sputtering; sputters

Definition of sputter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to spit or squirt from the mouth with explosive sounds
2 : to utter hastily or explosively in confusion or excitement "that's ridiculous!" she sputtered
3 : to dislodge (atoms) from the surface of a material by collision with high energy particles also : to deposit (a metallic film) by such a process

intransitive verb

1 : to spit or squirt particles of food or saliva noisily from the mouth
2 : to speak explosively or confusedly in anger or excitement
3 : to make explosive popping sounds

sputter

noun

Definition of sputter (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : confused and excited speech or discussion
2 : the act or sound of sputtering

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Other Words from sputter

Verb

sputterer noun

Examples of sputter in a Sentence

Verb The motor sputtered and died. He was sputtering with rage. She sputtered an angry protest. “You, you have to be kidding!” he sputtered.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb With vaccines on the rise in many parts of the world, and fewer hosts to infect, the virus is starting to hit roadblocks and slowly sputter out. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 28 June 2021 If volatility continues and those offerings sputter or get postponed, the IPO market could pump the brakes. Corrie Driebusch, WSJ, 14 May 2021 When herd immunity is reached, the virus will have a hard time finding new hosts to infect, and the outbreak will sputter to an end. Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2021 In that case, the current demand surge would sputter and die away. James Mackintosh, WSJ, 31 May 2021 Any concern that the drive might sputter was assuaged when Brady found Edelman for 15 yards to the Falcons 25. BostonGlobe.com, 13 Apr. 2021 The ball doesn’t always get passed smoothly between each half-hour installment, and this is where Mythic Quest’s dual engines tend to sputter. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 7 May 2021 Elsewhere in the world, vaccination efforts continue to sputter. Eve Sneider, Wired, 30 Apr. 2021 As the water table dips lower, the pump will begin to suck air and faucets will sputter as water stops flowing. Ian James, The Arizona Republic, 28 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Last week, liberal members were already growing tired of watching the bipartisan talks sputter along without a resolution. Lauren Fox, CNN, 26 July 2021 But the offense went into a complete sputter for much of that period -- and that, combined with Durant’s foul trouble, led to big problems. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 But the offense went into a complete sputter for much of that period -- and that, combined with Durant’s foul trouble, led to big problems. Tim Reynolds, Anchorage Daily News, 25 July 2021 But the offense went into a complete sputter for much of that period -- and that, combined with Durant’s foul trouble, led to big problems. The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 July 2021 But the offense went into a complete sputter for much of that period -- and that, combined with Durant's foul trouble, led to big problems. Tim Reynolds, Star Tribune, 25 July 2021 But the offense went into a complete sputter for much of that period -- and that, combined with Durant’s foul trouble, led to big problems. Tim Reynolds, ajc, 25 July 2021 Wild drums, hulking basslines, and slashing riffs churn and sputter, contorting themselves into positions that are as striking as the most obvious pop hook. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, 23 June 2021 Moments later, the group heard a loud bang and sputter coming from the other boat, and saw a cloud of black smoke rising. Washington Post, 2 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sputter.' 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 sputter

Verb

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sputter

Verb

akin to Dutch sputteren to sputter

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Time Traveler for sputter

Time Traveler

The first known use of sputter was in 1598

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Dictionary Entries Near sputter

Sputnik

sputter

sputteringly

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Statistics for sputter

Last Updated

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sputter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sputter. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for sputter

sputter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of sputter

: to make loud sounds like explosions
: to speak quickly or in a confused way because you are upset, surprised, etc.

sputter

verb
sput·​ter | \ ˈspə-tər How to pronounce sputter (audio) \
sputtered; sputtering

Kids Definition of sputter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to spit noisily from the mouth She came out of the water coughing and sputtering.
2 : to speak in a hasty or explosive way in confusion or excitement Students sputtered out protests.
3 : to make explosive popping sounds The motor sputtered and died.

sputter

noun

Kids Definition of sputter (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or sound of sputtering

More from Merriam-Webster on sputter

Nglish: Translation of sputter for Spanish Speakers

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