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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
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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for spurt
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was the old story of volunteers, brave enough at a spurt, going to pieces in panic under hard and continued strain.

  • Again, the blade descended, bringing a spurt of dust from his clothing.

    Millennium Everett B. Cole
  • But the sight of a fireplace and plenty of dry wood ready to flame up at the spurt of a match heartened them somewhat.

  • They were losing ground steadily, and there was no “spurt” in them.

    A Little Miss Nobody Amy Bell Marlowe
  • When it was opposite the flag a spurt of flame came from the pistol of the man in it, and John actually laughed.

    The Forest of Swords Joseph A. Altsheler
  • And I took careful aim, and fired, and saw the spurt from the bullet.

    Desert Dust Edwin L. Sabin
  • There was a great blaze, a spurt of smoke and a tremendous crash.

    The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler
  • His men were waiting and longing for a spurt and caught it up at once.

    Two Daring Young Patriots W. P. Shervill
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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