• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to scatter or dash in small particles or drops: The dog spattered mud on everyone when he shook himself.
  2. to splash with something in small particles: to spatter the ground with water.
  3. to sprinkle or spot with something that soils or stains.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to send out small particles or drops, as falling water: rain spattering on a tin roof.
  2. to strike a surface in or as in a shower, as bullets.
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  1. the act or the sound of spattering: the spatter of rain on a roof.
  2. a splash or spot of something spattered.
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Origin of spatter

1575–85; perhaps < Dutch spatt(en) to splash + -er6; compare Dutch spatterig literally, spattery
Related formsspat·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·spat·tered, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for spattering

daub, smudge, speckle, mottle, stipple, speck, spangle, dash, disperse, strew, slop, douse, soil, sputter, splutter, wet, spot, broadcast, spray, discharge

Examples from the Web for spattering

Contemporary Examples of spattering

Historical Examples of spattering

  • In a hole as large as this we might get nothing worse than a spattering of dirt.

  • I glanced out on the water, and the spattering shot were like a hailstorm.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • Frantically he thrashed there, spattering and floundering in darkness.

    The Flaming Jewel

    Robert W. Chambers

  • An instant later, the bullets were spattering around us, and we dropped flat.

    Life in a Tank

    Richard Haigh

  • Rain-drops, hard as hail, were spattering a pool on her head.

British Dictionary definitions for spattering


  1. to scatter or splash (a substance, esp a liquid) or (of a substance) to splash (something) in scattered dropsto spatter mud on the car; mud spattered in her face
  2. (tr) to sprinkle, cover, or spot (with a liquid)
  3. (tr) to slander or defame
  4. (intr) to shower or rain downbullets spattered around them
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  1. the sound of something spattering
  2. something spattered, such as a spot or splash
  3. the act or an instance of spattering
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Word Origin for spatter

C16: of imitative origin; related to Low German, Dutch spatten to spout, Frisian spatteren to splash
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 spattering



1570s (implied in spattering), possibly a frequentative verb from the stem of Dutch or Low German spatten "to spout, burst," of imitative origin. Related: Spattered.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper