sputum

noun
spu·​tum | \ˈspyü-təm, ˈspü-\
plural sputa\ ˈspyü-​tə , ˈspü-​ \ also sputums

Definition of sputum 

: matter expectorated from the respiratory system and especially the lungs that is composed of mucus but may contain pus, blood, fibrin, or microorganisms (such as bacteria) in diseased states

Examples of sputum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Common symptoms include a bad cough lasting longer than 3 weeks, chest pain, and coughing up blood or sputum. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Tuberculosis scare forces evacuations at Johns Hopkins Hospital," 6 July 2018 So does weeks of coughing up sputum (a mix of mucus and saliva). Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s When to See a Doctor About That Persistent Cough," 7 Apr. 2018 Patients with lower blood concentration levels also bore the infectious bacteria in their sputum for longer periods of time — potentially spreading it by coughing, said Dr. Jan S. Fehr, one of the study’s lead authors. Emily Baumgaertner, New York Times, "TB Treatment May Leave Some Patients Contagious," 6 Apr. 2018 The immunologist also ordered a sputum test, which revealed a strain of staphylococcus bacteria in Mimi's lungs. Sandra G. Boodman, chicagotribune.com, "The girl who couldn't stop coughing," 5 Apr. 2018 The immunologist also ordered a sputum test, which revealed a strain of staphylococcus bacteria in Mimi’s lungs. Sandra G. Boodman, Washington Post, "Why did a little girl have a persistent ‘smoker’s cough’?," 31 Mar. 2018 Refugees who have positive blood tests and chest x-rays are taken to a county health office for sputum tests, according to Robert Moser, head of Catholic Charities in San Diego. Kate Morrissey, sandiegouniontribune.com, "UCSD researcher says Breitbart misused his study on refugees and TB," 16 Aug. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of sputum

circa 1693, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sputum

Latin, from neuter of sputus, past participle of spuere to spit — more at spew

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sputum

Statistics for sputum

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sputum

The first known use of sputum was circa 1693

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sputum

sputum

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sputum

medical : a thick liquid that comes up from your lungs when you are sick

sputum

noun
spu·​tum | \ˈsp(y)üt-əm \
plural sputa\ -​ə \

Medical Definition of sputum 

: matter expectorated from the respiratory system and especially the lungs in diseased states that is composed of mucus but may contain pus, blood, fibrin, or microorganisms (as bacteria)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on sputum

See words that rhyme with sputum

Britannica English: Translation of sputum for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sputum

Comments on sputum

What made you want to look up sputum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!