verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to send out small particles or drops, as falling water: rain spattering on a tin roof.
to strike a surface in or as in a shower, as bullets.


the act or the sound of spattering: the spatter of rain on a roof.
a splash or spot of something spattered.

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

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



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
(tr) to sprinkle, cover, or spot (with a liquid)
(tr) to slander or defame
(intr) to shower or rain downbullets spattered around them


the sound of something spattering
something spattered, such as a spot or splash
the act or an instance of spattering

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper