stam·​mer ˈsta-mər How to pronounce stammer (audio)
stammered; stammering ˈsta-mə-riŋ How to pronounce stammer (audio)

intransitive verb

: to make involuntary stops and repetitions in speaking : stutter

transitive verb

: to utter with involuntary stops or repetitions
stammer noun
stammerer noun

Example Sentences

“I d-don't know what you're talking about!” she stammered. He stammered an excuse and fled.
Recent Examples on the Web Ayo Edebiri, possibly best known for taking over the role Jenny Slate once voiced on Big Mouth, is the Michael Cera to Sennott's Jonah Hill—the stammering, earnest wallflower. A.a. Dowd, Chron, 12 Mar. 2023 Grant balances stammering awkwardness and self-deprecation with charm and warmth, while Roberts blends steely, intimidating resolve with down-to-earth levity and emotional vulnerability. Wesley Stenzel,, 27 Feb. 2023 What seemed episodic in 2017 now comes across as a taut dramatic arc, the text sometimes stylized — characters tend to stammer repetitions of key lines — but the storytelling clear, lean and always supported by the agile music. New York Times, 15 May 2022 Sure, the weaker part of me will hustle along and stammer out apologies on arrival. James Parker, The Atlantic, 11 Feb. 2022 But their exit plan goes awry, leaving the guests, in an extremely awkward confrontation, to stammer through a vague explanation of all the little things that have felt wrong since their arrival. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Feb. 2022 After the initial stammered responses, someone said that would be impossible because grades are a service that universities provide to society. Anirban Mukhopadhyay, Quartz India, 6 May 2020 Coldplay has become a band defined by polish, but viewers here got quite the opposite: Martin in a fisherman’s sweater and beanie, fragile-seeming and stammering nervously into the camera. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 21 Mar. 2020 Bloomberg acted wounded, stammering when challenged. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, 20 Feb. 2020 See More

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

Word History


Middle English stameren, from Old English stamerian; akin to Old High German stamalōn to stammer, Old Norse stemma to hinder, damn up — more at stem

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of stammer was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near stammer

Cite this Entry

“Stammer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
stammered; stammering
: to speak or utter with involuntary stops and much repeating


2 of 2 noun
: an act or instance of stammering

Medical Definition


1 of 2 intransitive verb
stam·​mer ˈstam-ər How to pronounce stammer (audio)
stammered; stammering -(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce stammer (audio)
: to make involuntary stops and repetitions in speaking : stutter


2 of 2 noun
: an act or instance of stammering
: the habitual tendency to stammer
a severe stammer
: stammering sense 2
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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