saliva; spit.
Entomology. the frothy secretion exuded by spittlebugs.

Origin of spittle

1470–80; blend of Middle English spit (noun) (see spit1) and spetil, Old English spǣtl, variant of spātl saliva
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spittle

Contemporary Examples of spittle

  • The depth of rage, animus and violence that was directed at him—“Spittle flying, the N word flying”—continues to astound him.

    The Daily Beast logo
    NPR’s Smooth-Talking Millennial Whisperer

    Batya Ungar-Sargon

    October 7, 2014

  • His cheeks bright red, his chin wet with spittle, the helot would weave and stagger and totter until he passed out in the dirt.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Persian Fire and Rubicon (Full)

    David Frum

    September 23, 2012

Historical Examples of spittle

British Dictionary definitions for spittle



the fluid secreted in the mouth; saliva or spit
Also called: cuckoo spit, frog spit the frothy substance secreted on plants by the larvae of certain froghoppers

Word Origin for spittle

Old English spǣtl saliva; see spit 1
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 spittle

late 15c., "saliva, spit," probably an alteration (by influence of spit (v.)) of Old English spætl, spatl, from Proto-Germanic *spætlan, which is related to Old English spætan "to spit."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

spittle in Medicine




Spit; saliva.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.