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smattering

[smat-er-ing] /ˈsmæt ər ɪŋ/
noun
1.
a slight, superficial, or introductory knowledge of something:
a smattering of Latin.
adjective
2.
slight or superficial.
Origin of smattering
1530-1540
First recorded in 1530-40; smatter + -ing1, -ing2
Related forms
smatteringly, adverb

smatter

[smat-er] /ˈsmæt ər/
verb (used with object)
1.
to speak (a language, words, etc.) with superficial knowledge or understanding.
2.
to dabble in.
noun
3.
slight or superficial knowledge; smattering.
Origin
1300-50; Middle English; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Danish, Norwegian smadre to splash, swash, Swedish smattra to clatter, rattle; compare Middle Low German smetern to chatter
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for smattering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had a smattering of most things, this uncle, especially the vocabularies.

    The Golden Age Kenneth Grahame
  • I had, therefore, only a smattering knowledge of the theory of this duty.

    War from the Inside

    Frederick L. (Frederick Lyman) Hitchcock
  • Then, again, he must have a smattering of French, and affect to be above old England.

    The English Spy Bernard Blackmantle
  • A smattering of English Literature, and less than a smattering of French.

    The Longest Journey E. M. Forster
  • To buy them wisely, a smattering of their history is a requisite.

    The Tapestry Book Helen Churchill Candee
British Dictionary definitions for smattering

smattering

/ˈsmætərɪŋ/
noun
1.
a slight or superficial knowledge
2.
a small amount
Derived Forms
smatteringly, adverb

smatter

/ˈsmætə/
noun
1.
a smattering
verb
2.
(intransitive) (rare) to prattle
3.
(transitive) (archaic) to dabble in
Derived Forms
smatterer, noun
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: to prattle): of uncertain origin; compare Middle High German smetern to gossip
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 smattering
n.

"a slight or superficial knowledge," 1530s, verbal noun from smatter (v.).

smatter

v.

early 15c., "talk idly, chatter; talk ignorantly or superficially," of uncertain origin, perhaps imitative. Similar forms are found in Middle High German smetern "to chatter" and Swedish smattra "to patter, rattle," and cf. Danish snaddre "chatter, jabber," Dutch snateren, German schnattern "cackle, chatter, prattle." Related: Smattered; smattering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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