[ smat-er-ing ]
/ ˈsmæt ər ɪŋ /


a slight, superficial, or introductory knowledge of something: a smattering of Latin.


slight or superficial.

Nearby words

  1. smashing,
  2. smashingly,
  3. smatch,
  4. smatter,
  5. smatterer,
  6. smatteringly,
  7. smatv,
  8. smaze,
  9. smd,
  10. sme

Origin of smattering

First recorded in 1530–40; smatter + -ing1, -ing2

Related formssmat·ter·ing·ly, adverb


[ smat-er ]
/ ˈsmæt ər /

verb (used with object)

to speak (a language, words, etc.) with superficial knowledge or understanding.
to dabble in.


slight or superficial knowledge; smattering.

Origin of smatter

1300–50; Middle English; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Danish, Norwegian smadre to splash, swash, Swedish smattra to clatter, rattle; compare Middle Low German smetern to chatter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for smattering

British Dictionary definitions for smattering


/ (ˈsmætərɪŋ) /


a slight or superficial knowledge
a small amount
Derived Formssmatteringly, adverb


/ (ˈsmætə) /


a smattering


(intr) rare to prattle
(tr) archaic to dabble in
Derived Formssmatterer, noun

Word Origin for smatter

C14 (in the sense: to prattle): of uncertain origin; compare Middle High German smetern to gossip

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 smattering
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper