- a petty quarrel.
- a light blow; slap; smack.
- to engage in a petty quarrel or dispute.
- to splash or spatter; rain spatting against the window.
- to strike lightly; slap.
Origin of spat1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- a simple past tense and past participle of spit1.
- a short gaiter worn over the instep and usually fastened under the foot with a strap, worn especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Origin of spat3
- the spawn of an oyster or similar shellfish.
- young oysters collectively.
- a young oyster.
- seed oyster.
Origin of spat4
Related Wordssquabble, discord, tiff, run-in, disagreement, misunderstanding, friction, strife, feud, flare-up, altercation, fracas, brouhaha, falling-out, bickering, embroilment, fuss, beef, argument, dissension
Examples from the Web for spats
They lived out their spats and quarrels in public and in the papers.Gore Vidal Epitomized an Era When Writers Were Like Rock Stars
August 2, 2012
The spats tend to fade over time, as French leaders come to see how fundamental a strong partnership with Germany really is.Francois Hollande: France’s Anti-Sarkozy President
May 7, 2012
From spats to hat, from walking coat to gloves, everything was perfect of its kind.Within the Law
Who ever heard of a goulash poet in a braid-bound cutaway and spats?The House of Torchy
Squaring his shoulders, he crossed his legs and gazed inscrutably at his spats.The Forsyte Saga, Complete
But they did frequently have spats, for both were hot-tempered and willful.The Corner House Girls on Palm Island
Grace Brooks Hill
He had a light top-coat on his arm, and his tan gloves were an exact match for his spats.The Wreckers
- rare a slap or smack
- a slight quarrel
- rare to slap (someone)
- (intr) US, Canadian and NZ to have a slight quarrel
- a past tense and past participle of spit 1
- another name for gaiter (def. 2)
- a larval oyster or similar bivalve mollusc, esp when it settles to the sea bottom and starts to develop a shell
- such oysters or other molluscs collectively
Word Origin and History for spats
"petty quarrel," 1804, American English, of unknown origin; perhaps somehow imitative (cf. spat "smack, slap," attested from 1823).