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

Global opinion is turning against China and the world’s second-largest economy is suddenly sputtering. Michael Auslin, WSJ, "Trump’s Successful Pivot to Asia," 15 Jan. 2019 The Buckeyes are sputtering with three losses in five games, while the Jackrabbits have won 11 straight. Shannon Ryan, chicagotribune.com, "Breaking down each region in the NCAA tournament: Teams, players and games to watch," 11 Mar. 2018 After that, the space launch industry in Brazil sputtered. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Can the U.S. Save Alcantara, Brazil’s Cursed Spaceport?," 20 Mar. 2019 Europe’s economic upturn has sputtered in recent months. Marcus Walker, WSJ, "EU Countries Face a Menu of Challenges," 20 Jan. 2019 Screenshot from Senate Judiciary Committee video Previous efforts to kick-start the legislation have sputtered. Nate Poppino, idahostatesman, "Nuclear tests gave these Idahoans cancer, they say. Will Congress support them now?," 27 June 2018 As the eruption sputters into a third week, scientists are examining lava samples and trying to understand what might be happening deep under the mountain. Washington Post, "Scientists study lava for clues to how volcano will behave," 16 May 2018 As the eruption sputters into a third week, scientists are examining lava samples and trying to understand what might be happening deep under the mountain. Sophia Yan And Caleb Jones, Fox News, "Scientists study lava for clues to how volcano will behave," 16 May 2018 Herbert passed for 166 yards and extended his streak on a day when the Ducks’ offense mostly sputtered. Michael Wagaman, The Seattle Times, "Herbert sparks Oregon past Michigan State 7-6 in Redbox Bowl," 31 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Fast-forward the cosmic clock, compressing eons into seconds, and the stars of the night sky would wink out one by one, as the central, stabilizing inferno within each one sputters and dies. Alan Hirshfeld, WSJ, "Book Review: Feeling Gravity’s Pull," 16 Nov. 2018 Investors can still get their money back if the borrower’s stock sputters, though defaults remain a risk. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "Rising Rates Revitalize Convertible-Bond Sales," 10 Dec. 2018 Ferrari NV’s post- Sergio Marchionne future started Wednesday with a sputter as the shares plunged following comments from the new CEO. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Ferrari Reports Higher Profit, But Shares Fall on New CEO’s Comments," 1 Aug. 2018 As the world-wide smartphone market sputters, the iPhone maker is trying to accelerate a growing services business that includes app store sales, mobile payments and a music-streaming subscription offering. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, "Apple Partners With Movie Studio A24 to Make Feature-Length Films," 15 Nov. 2018 Throughout its two seasons, HBO’s Westworld has trotted out no shortage of bad guys, from robot gunslingers to mad inventors to dialog that sputters and clunks. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Westworld’s Real Villain Has Always Been Its Privacy Policy," 24 June 2018 No buzzing sales banter and gossip, no sputter of yellow and white taxis or boda boda taxi bikes. David Mckenzie, CNN, "Fear and failure: How Ebola sparked a global health revolution," 26 May 2018 One takes a drag, coughs extensively, sputters, hocks an impressive loogie. Elisa Albert, Longreads, "O, Small-bany!," 7 May 2018 Should that possibility sputter, Salvini has expressed openness to a deal between his anti-migrant League and the 5-Stars. Washington Post, "Italian region votes as political leaders spar over future," 29 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for sputter

Last Updated

4 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sputter

The first known use of sputter was in 1598

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sputter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sputter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sputter

Spanish Central: Translation of sputter

Nglish: Translation of sputter for Spanish Speakers

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