- a slight, superficial, or introductory knowledge of something: a smattering of Latin.
- slight or superficial.
Origin of smattering
- to speak (a language, words, etc.) with superficial knowledge or understanding.
- to dabble in.
- slight or superficial knowledge; smattering.
Origin of smatter
Examples from the Web for smattering
The long crypt tunnels into a hillside, only visible by a smattering of skylights peeking up between graves.Brooklyn’s Gangster Graveyard
October 23, 2014
There was a smattering of clean-cut sensation seekers and a few actual Hindus as well.Patted Down by India’s Hugging Saint
July 20, 2014
“I will be here in August 2014,” he thundered to a smattering of laughs and applause.Rick Perry Can’t Quit Campaigning
December 4, 2013
For the non-greenhorn, though, there is fun to be had in the smattering of fearless, at times audacious, assertions.John Sutherland‘s Enjoyable Little History of Literature
November 29, 2013
“There were a smattering of reactions,” Hoyt told The Daily Beast.When Synthetic Pot Kills
November 21, 2013
He had a smattering of most things, this uncle, especially the vocabularies.The Golden Age
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
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
- a slight or superficial knowledge
- a small amount
- a smattering
- (intr) rare to prattle
- (tr) archaic to dabble in
Word Origin and History for smattering
"a slight or superficial knowledge," 1530s, verbal noun from 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.