[ spluht-er ]
See synonyms for splutter on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to talk rapidly and somewhat incoherently, as when confused, excited, or embarrassed: When pushed for an explanation, he always spluttered.

  2. to make a sputtering sound, or emit particles of something explosively, as water dropped onto a hot griddle.

  1. to fly or fall in particles or drops; spatter, as a liquid.

verb (used with object)
  1. to utter hastily and confusedly or incoherently; sputter: Out of breath, she spluttered a poor excuse for her lateness.

  2. to spatter (a liquid, small particles, etc.).

  1. to bespatter (someone or something).

  1. spluttering utterance or talk; noise or fuss.

  2. a sputtering or spattering, as of liquid.

Origin of splutter

1670–80; blend of splash and sputter

Other words from splutter

  • splut·ter·er, noun

Words Nearby splutter

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use splutter in a sentence

  • With Ambassador John Negroponte in place, halting dialogues could begin to splutter, and stutter, and stumble.

  • He held up with a pride that made him splutter a little jack about fourteen inches long, which he had just caught.

    The Yeoman Adventurer | George W. Gough
  • Our crew—two Chinamen who jested about us between themselves in a continuous splutter of Chinese.

    Tramping on Life | Harry Kemp
  • Dolly catches her lips with her finger tips, suppressing a little splutter of mirth.

    You Never Can Tell | George Bernard Shaw
  • And the utterers of both queries came forth on to the stoep, causing their brothers to break into a splutter of mirth.

    Aletta | Bertram Mitford
  • A large drop of water, splashing down from the roof of the cavern, caused the light to splutter and go out.

    The Boy Land Boomer | Ralph Bonehill

British Dictionary definitions for splutter


/ (ˈsplʌtə) /

  1. to spit out (saliva, food particles, etc) from the mouth in an explosive manner, as through choking or laughing

  2. to utter (words) with spitting sounds, as through rage or choking

  1. Also: sputter to eject or be ejected in an explosive manner: sparks spluttered from the fire

  2. (tr) to bespatter (a person) with tiny particles explosively ejected: he spluttered the boy next to him with ink

  1. the process or noise of spluttering

  2. spluttering incoherent speech, esp in argument

  1. anything ejected through spluttering

Origin of splutter

C17: variant of sputter, influenced by splash

Derived forms of splutter

  • splutterer, noun

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