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spat1

[spat] /spæt/
noun
1.
a petty quarrel.
2.
a light blow; slap; smack.
verb (used without object), spatted, spatting.
3.
to engage in a petty quarrel or dispute.
4.
to splash or spatter; rain spatting against the window.
verb (used with object), spatted, spatting.
5.
to strike lightly; slap.
Origin of spat1
1795-1805
An Americanism dating back to 1795-1805; perhaps imitative
Synonyms
1. tiff, scrap, set-to.

spat2

[spat] /spæt/
verb
1.
a simple past tense and past participle of spit1 .

spat3

[spat] /spæt/
noun
1.
a short gaiter worn over the instep and usually fastened under the foot with a strap, worn especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Origin
First recorded in 1795-1805; short for spatterdash

spat4

[spat] /spæt/
noun
1.
the spawn of an oyster or similar shellfish.
2.
young oysters collectively.
3.
a young oyster.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for spats
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • From spats to hat, from walking coat to gloves, everything was perfect of its kind.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Who ever heard of a goulash poet in a braid-bound cutaway and spats?

    The House of Torchy Sewell Ford
  • Squaring his shoulders, he crossed his legs and gazed inscrutably at his spats.

    The Forsyte Saga, Complete John Galsworthy
  • But they did frequently have spats, for both were hot-tempered and willful.

  • He had a light top-coat on his arm, and his tan gloves were an exact match for his spats.

    The Wreckers Francis Lynde
  • I have known a peer object to spats because they did not look nice in a picture.

    Forty Years of 'Spy' Leslie Ward
  • He was, as usual, faultlessly attired, even down to his spats.

    The Rover Boys in Business Arthur M. Winfield
  • A place where the starving feel the pangs of gluttony, and the threadbare wear opera-hats and spats.

    The Roycroft Dictionary Elbert Hubbard
British Dictionary definitions for spats

spat1

/spæt/
noun
1.
(rare) a slap or smack
2.
a slight quarrel
verb spats, spatting, spatted
3.
(rare) to slap (someone)
4.
(intransitive) (US & Canadian, NZ) to have a slight quarrel
Word Origin
C19: probably imitative of the sound of quarrelling

spat2

/spæt/
verb
1.
a past tense and past participle of spit1

spat3

/spæt/
noun
1.
another name for gaiter (sense 2)
Word Origin
C19: short for spatterdash

spat4

/spæt/
noun
1.
a larval oyster or similar bivalve mollusc, esp when it settles to the sea bottom and starts to develop a shell
2.
such oysters or other molluscs collectively
Word Origin
C17: from Anglo-Norman spat; perhaps related to spit1
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 spats

spat

n.1

"petty quarrel," 1804, American English, of unknown origin; perhaps somehow imitative (cf. spat "smack, slap," attested from 1823).

spat

n.2

"short gaiter covering the ankle," 1779, shortening of spatterdash "long gaiter to keep trousers or stockings from being spattered with mud" (1680s), from spatter and dash (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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7
8
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