verb (used with object)

to fill or litter with things in a disorderly manner: All kinds of papers cluttered the top of his desk.

verb (used without object)


Origin of clutter

1550–60; variant of clotter (now obsolete), equivalent to clot + -er6
Related formso·ver·clut·ter, verb (used with object)un·clut·ter, verb (used with object)un·clut·tered, adjective

Synonyms for clutter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for clutter

Contemporary Examples of clutter

Historical Examples of clutter

  • They stood knee-deep in the clutter and lumber, facing each other abjectly.

  • He spread a tarpaulin amid the clutter amidships and they sat down.

    The Harbor of Doubt

    Frank Williams

  • She was stretching her hand out to Drury, where he lay unconscious, deep in the clutter.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • "It'll be a relief for most folks not to have the muss and the clutter," said Ellen's mother.


    Zona Gale

  • In the center of the table, surrounded by the clutter, sat an oblong box.

    Damned If You Don't

    Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for clutter



(usually tr often foll by up) to strew or amass (objects) in a disorderly manner
(intr) to move about in a bustling manner
(intr) to chatter or babble


a disordered heap or mass of objects
a state of disorder
unwanted echoes that confuse the observation of signals on a radar screen

Word Origin for clutter

C15 clotter, from clotteren to clot
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

Word Origin and History for clutter

1550s, "to collect in heaps," variant of clotern "to form clots, to heap on" (c.1400); related to clot (n.). Sense of "to litter" is first recorded 1660s. Related: Cluttered; cluttering.


1570s, "things lying in heaps or confusion," from clutter (v.); the "litter" sense is from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper