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or spirt

[spurt] /spɜrt/
verb (used without object)
to gush or issue suddenly in a stream or jet, as a liquid; spout.
to show marked, usually increased, activity or energy for a short period:
The runners spurted forward in the last lap of the race.
verb (used with object)
to expel or force out suddenly in a stream or jet, as a liquid; spout.
a sudden, forceful gush or jet.
a marked increase of effort for a short period or distance, as in running, rowing, etc.
a sudden burst or outburst, as of activity, energy, or feeling.
Origin of spurt
First recorded in 1560-70; variant of spirt; origin uncertain
Related forms
spurter, noun
spurtive, adjective
spurtively, adverb
outspurt, verb (used with object)
1. well, spring. See flow. 4. spout.
1. drip, ooze. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for spurt
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A spurt of boiling water jumped into the air, and a wash of water followed.

    American Notes Rudyard Kipling
  • There was no outcry; simply a spurt of blood and brain, and all was over.

    The Downfall Emile Zola
  • "I asked him what he'd been doing with himself all the summer," Barbara went on with a spurt.

    The Education of Eric Lane Stephen McKenna
  • The dun had been hard ridden in the spurt to gain the mountains ahead of the posse.

    The Coyote James Roberts
  • A spurt of laughter dies into a shiver of repugnance at the action.

  • At these words Pincher took a spurt and had to be held in, lest they should overtake the wagon.

    Peak and Prairie Anna Fuller
  • Suddenly, a spurt of smoke came from the muzzle of the rifle.

    The Best Made Plans Everett B. Cole
  • Another bullet lifted a spurt of dust almost at his horse's feet.

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
British Dictionary definitions for spurt


to gush or cause to gush forth in a sudden stream or jet
to make a sudden effort
a sudden forceful stream or jet
a short burst of activity, speed, or energy
Word Origin
C16: perhaps related to Middle High German sprützen to squirt
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 spurt

"to gush out, squirt," 1560s, variant of spirt, perhaps cognate with Middle High German spürzen "to spit," and sprützen "to squirt" (see sprout). The noun in this sense is attested from 1775.


"brief burst of activity," 1560s, variant of spirt "brief period of time" (1540s), of uncertain origin, perhaps somehow connected with spurt (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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