• synonyms


  1. a large bowl, often of metal, serving as a receptacle for spit, especially from chewing tobacco: in wide use during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Show More

Origin of cuspidor

1770–80; < Portuguese: literally, spitter, equivalent to cusp(ir) to spit (≪ Latin conspuere to cover with spit; con- con- + spuere to spit1) + -idor < Latin -i-tōrium; see -i-, -tory2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cuspidor

Historical Examples

  • Or else they'll pour half of it into the cuspidor when you're not looking.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • Again the magistrate spat into the cuspidor between his feet.

    Frank of Freedom Hill

    Samuel A. Derieux

  • The squire nodded and spat into the cuspidor between his feet.

    Frank of Freedom Hill

    Samuel A. Derieux

  • Without a word the Sheriff dropped the coins into the cuspidor.

  • Now it was a cuspidor, now a fire-shovel for the little stove, now a China shaving mug.


    Frank Norris

British Dictionary definitions for cuspidor


  1. another word (esp US) for spittoon
Show More

Word Origin

C18: from Portuguese, from cuspir to spit, from Latin conspuere, from spuere to spit
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 cuspidor


1779, a colonial word, from Portuguese cuspidor "spittoon," from cuspir "to spit," from Latin conspuere "spit on," from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + spuere "to spit" (see spew).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper