sputum

noun

spu·​tum ˈspyü-təm How to pronounce sputum (audio)
ˈspü-
plural sputa ˈspyü-tə How to pronounce sputum (audio)
ˈspü-
also sputums
: 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 You'll be asked to cough up some sputum with as little saliva as possible. Tanya Feke, Verywell Health, 4 Apr. 2024 Symptoms can also include rashes, coughing, shortness of breath, or blood in the sputum. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 16 Jan. 2024 Symptoms of tuberculosis include chest pain and a persistent cough accompanied by blood or sputum (phlegm from deep inside the lungs), the CDC says. Cara Lynn Shultz, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2023 Phlegm, also known as sputum, is far more difficult to collect than blood or urine. Lizzy Lawrence, STAT, 11 Aug. 2023 Avoid suppressing a cough, which helps get rid of excess sputum. Korin Miller, Health, 6 Aug. 2023 When a lower respiratory infection (such as viral pneumonia) is suspected, the healthcare provider may ask for a sputum specimen. Sherry Christiansen Updated, Verywell Health, 3 Aug. 2023 The symptoms measured included cough, wheezing, sputum production, shortness of breath, and rapid breathing. Helen Branswell, STAT, 31 May 2023 Phlegm discharged by coughing or spitting is called sputum. Jack Feerick, Discover Magazine, 10 Nov. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sputum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

circa 1693, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sputum was circa 1693

Dictionary Entries Near sputum

Cite this Entry

“Sputum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sputum. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

sputum

noun
spu·​tum ˈsp(y)üt-əm How to pronounce sputum (audio)
plural sputa -ə How to pronounce sputum (audio)
: material that is spit or coughed up from the lungs and bronchi and is made up mostly of mucus

Medical Definition

sputum

noun
spu·​tum ˈsp(y)üt-əm How to pronounce sputum (audio)
plural sputa -ə How to pronounce sputum (audio)
: 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)

More from Merriam-Webster on sputum

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