- matter, as saliva mixed with mucus or pus, expectorated from the lungs and respiratory passages.
Origin of sputum
1685–95; < Latin spūtum, noun use of neuter of spūtus, past participle of spuere to spit, equivalent to spū- variant stem + -tus past participle suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sputum
Third, the virus could not be found in sputum, further supporting the clear observation that airborne spread does not occur.Did One Liberian Prostitute Give Ebola to Eight Soldiers?
October 7, 2014
The germ is found in the sputum and in the nasal secretions.The Eugenic Marriage, Volume IV. (of IV.)
Do not dress if the temperature is above 99 degrees, or if there is blood in the sputum.Civics and Health
William H. Allen
It is the sputum after its discharge from the body on which our attention must be fixed.
The sputum should be fresh—not more than three or four hours' old.
The sputum should always be examined, both unstained and stained.
- a mass of salivary matter ejected from the mouth
- saliva ejected from the mouth mixed with mucus or pus exuded from the respiratory passages, as in bronchitis or bronchiectasis
C17: from Latin: spittle, from spuere to spit out
Word Origin and History for sputum
1690s, from Latin sputum, noun use of neuter past participle of spuere "to spit" (see spew).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Matter coughed up and usually expelled from the mouth, especially mucus or mucopurulent matter expectorated in diseases of the air passages.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.