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[spluht-er] /ˈsplʌt ər/
verb (used without object)
to talk rapidly and somewhat incoherently, as when confused, excited, or embarrassed:
When pushed for an explanation, he always spluttered.
to make a sputtering sound, or emit particles of something explosively, as water dropped onto a hot griddle.
to fly or fall in particles or drops; spatter, as a liquid.
verb (used with object)
to utter hastily and confusedly or incoherently; sputter:
Out of breath, she spluttered a poor excuse for her lateness.
to spatter (a liquid, small particles, etc.).
to bespatter (someone or something).
spluttering utterance or talk; noise or fuss.
a sputtering or spattering, as of liquid.
Origin of splutter
1670-80; blend of splash and sputter
Related forms
splutterer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for splutter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was no sound in the room but the scratch and splutter of his quill.

  • Jukes understood the boatswain to splutter that the bridge ladders were gone.

    Typhoon Joseph Conrad
  • There was a little pause, and then came the splutter of a match.

    Cruel Barbara Allen David Christie Murray
  • All had their mouths full when suddenly Codfish began to splutter.

    The Rover Boys on a Hunt Arthur M. Winfield (Edward Stratemeyer)
  • I watched him gesticulate and get red in the face and foam and splutter.

    The Winning Clue

    James Hay, Jr.
  • The splash was followed by a splutter, and then a frantic cry for help.

  • The arc lamps come on with a splutter, and they, too, at first are amethyst.

    Penguin Persons & Peppermints Walter Prichard Eaton
  • I have just come out of a deep, deep ditch, and I want to hear the splutter.

    A Little Union Scout Joel Chandler Harris
  • There was a splutter that showed red in the hollow of my brother's hand.

    Chimney-Pot Papers Charles S. Brooks
British Dictionary definitions for splutter


to spit out (saliva, food particles, etc) from the mouth in an explosive manner, as through choking or laughing
to utter (words) with spitting sounds, as through rage or choking
Also sputter. to eject or be ejected in an explosive manner: sparks spluttered from the fire
(transitive) to bespatter (a person) with tiny particles explosively ejected: he spluttered the boy next to him with ink
the process or noise of spluttering
spluttering incoherent speech, esp in argument
anything ejected through spluttering
Derived Forms
splutterer, noun
Word Origin
C17: variant of sputter, influenced by 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 splutter

1670s, perhaps a variant of sputter, intensified by the consonant cluster of splash, splatter, etc.


1728, from splutter (n.). Related: Spluttered; spluttering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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