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

Definition of stammer

intransitive verb

: to make involuntary stops and repetitions in speaking : stutter

transitive verb

: to utter with involuntary stops or repetitions

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from stammer

stammer noun
stammerer \ ˈsta-​mər-​ər How to pronounce stammer (audio) \ noun

Examples of stammer in a Sentence

“I d-don't know what you're talking about!” she stammered. He stammered an excuse and fled.
Recent Examples on the Web 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, "The rise of online learning raises questions about the price we put on education," 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, "Celebrities Have Never Been Less Entertaining," 21 Mar. 2020 Bloomberg acted wounded, stammering when challenged. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "What gravitas? Six brawlers in Las Vegas debate but only one concerned with looking ‘presidential’," 20 Feb. 2020 Shortly after the afternoon newscast, competing points of views on what Morris said while stammering during the newscast hit social media. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "To many, it sounded like MSNBC reporter covering tragic Kobe Bryant helicopter crash used racial slur," 27 Jan. 2020 Barry Yeoman, a man with a lifelong stutter, suggests that while society mostly views a stutter as a disability, stammering really isn’t the problem at all. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "The Beauty of “Bl-Bl-Bl-Blue Moon”," 8 Nov. 2019 Inaba stammered before voting to save Karamo and Jenna. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Sean Spicer's Frankenstein horrifies on Halloween Night," 29 Oct. 2019 Before long, Jeff Goldblum, playing the chaos theorist Ian Malcolm, was pausing, stammering and charming his way through lines about the unpredictability of nature in Jurassic Park. Wired, "These Hidden Women Helped Invent Chaos Theory," 26 May 2019 As Alceste, Elliott Kashner fumes and stammers with disgust, often while dangling a couplet’s final word for comic effect. Nelson Pressley, Washington Post, "‘A Misanthrope’ brings Molière’s fabulous fakes into the 21st century," 5 June 2019

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

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

History and Etymology for stammer

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stammer

Time Traveler for stammer

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for stammer

Cite this Entry

“Stammer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stammer



English Language Learners Definition of stammer

: to speak with many pauses and repetitions because you have a speech problem or because you are very nervous, frightened, etc.


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

Kids Definition of stammer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to speak with involuntary stops and much repeating



Kids Definition of stammer (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of speaking with involuntary stops and much repeating
stam·​mer | \ ˈstam-ər How to pronounce stammer (audio) \
stammered; stammering\ -​(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce stammer (audio) \

Medical Definition of stammer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to make involuntary stops and repetitions in speaking : stutter



Medical Definition of stammer (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of stammering
2 : the habitual tendency to stammer a severe stammer : stammering sense 2

Comments on stammer

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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