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[spat-er] /ˈspæt ər/
verb (used with object)
to scatter or dash in small particles or drops:
The dog spattered mud on everyone when he shook himself.
to splash with something in small particles:
to spatter the ground with water.
to sprinkle or spot with something that soils or stains.
verb (used without object)
to send out small particles or drops, as falling water:
rain spattering on a tin roof.
to strike a surface in or as in a shower, as bullets.
the act or the sound of spattering:
the spatter of rain on a roof.
a splash or spot of something spattered.
Origin of spatter
1575-85; perhaps < Dutch spatt(en) to splash + -er6; compare Dutch spatterig literally, spattery
Related forms
spatteringly, adverb
unspattered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for spattering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In a hole as large as this we might get nothing worse than a spattering of dirt.

  • I glanced out on the water, and the spattering shot were like a hailstorm.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • Frantically he thrashed there, spattering and floundering in darkness.

    The Flaming Jewel Robert W. Chambers
  • An instant later, the bullets were spattering around us, and we dropped flat.

    Life in a Tank Richard Haigh
  • Rain-drops, hard as hail, were spattering a pool on her head.

    Evan Harrington, Complete George Meredith
  • Bullets were humming and whistling overhead, and spattering the ground around him.

    The Flag Homer Greene
  • Then he jumped in, spattering water all over Old Uncle Bullfrog.

    The Jumble Book David Cory
  • If enough stencils are made, the whole design can be made by spattering.

    The Invention of Lithography Alois Senefelder
  • There was yellow clay on the heels and a spattering of yellow clay on the prunella.

    Dominie Dean Ellis Parker Butler
British Dictionary definitions for spattering


to scatter or splash (a substance, esp a liquid) or (of a substance) to splash (something) in scattered drops: to spatter mud on the car, mud spattered in her face
(transitive) to sprinkle, cover, or spot (with a liquid)
(transitive) to slander or defame
(intransitive) to shower or rain down: bullets spattered around them
the sound of something spattering
something spattered, such as a spot or splash
the act or an instance of spattering
Word Origin
C16: of imitative origin; related to Low German, Dutch spatten to spout, Frisian spatteren to splash
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 spattering



1570s (implied in spattering), possibly a frequentative verb from the stem of Dutch or Low German spatten "to spout, burst," of imitative origin. Related: Spattered.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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