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[kuhs-pi-dawr] /ˈkʌs pɪˌdɔr/
a large bowl, often of metal, serving as a receptacle for spit, especially from chewing tobacco: in wide use during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Origin of cuspidor
1770-80; < Portuguese: literally, spitter, equivalent to cusp(ir) to spit (≪ Latin conspuere to cover with spit; con- con- + spuere to spit1) + -idor < Latin -i-tōrium; see -i-, -tory2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cuspidor
Historical Examples
  • Or else they'll pour half of it into the cuspidor when you're not looking.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • The squire nodded and spat into the cuspidor between his feet.

    Frank of Freedom Hill Samuel A. Derieux
  • Again the magistrate spat into the cuspidor between his feet.

    Frank of Freedom Hill Samuel A. Derieux
  • Without a word the Sheriff dropped the coins into the cuspidor.

  • Now it was a cuspidor, now a fire-shovel for the little stove, now a China shaving mug.

    McTeague Frank Norris
  • His clothes were seedy, and his remarks punctuated by amber-colored shots at the cuspidor.

    The Incendiary W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
  • Upon the floor, six feet behind his antagonist, was a cuspidor with jagged edges.

    Tales From Bohemia Robert Neilson Stephens
  • Lew Perkins sat in the corner on a shaky old apple barrel and brushed back his long mustaches to spit at the cuspidor—and miss it.

    The Seventh Man Max Brand
  • Corrigan bit his cigar in two, and slowly spat that which was left in his mouth into a cuspidor.

    'Firebrand' Trevison Charles Alden Seltzer
  • Spitting on the floor was breaking a castiron rule, yet not a cuspidor was provided for that use.

    Broke Edwin A. Brown
British Dictionary definitions for cuspidor


another word (esp US) for spittoon
Word Origin
C18: from Portuguese, from cuspir to spit, from Latin conspuere, from spuere to spit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cuspidor

1779, a colonial word, from Portuguese cuspidor "spittoon," from cuspir "to spit," from Latin conspuere "spit on," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + spuere "to spit" (see spew).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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