or spirt


verb (used without object)

to gush or issue suddenly in a stream or jet, as a liquid; spout.
to show marked, usually increased, activity or energy for a short period: The runners spurted forward in the last lap of the race.

verb (used with object)

to expel or force out suddenly in a stream or jet, as a liquid; spout.


a sudden, forceful gush or jet.
a marked increase of effort for a short period or distance, as in running, rowing, etc.
a sudden burst or outburst, as of activity, energy, or feeling.

Origin of spurt

First recorded in 1560–70; variant of spirt; origin uncertain
Related formsspurt·er, nounspur·tive, adjectivespur·tive·ly, adverbout·spurt, verb (used with object)

Synonyms for spurt

1. well, spring. See flow. 4. spout.

Antonyms for spurt

1. drip, ooze.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spurt

Contemporary Examples of spurt

Historical Examples of spurt

  • A spurt of boiling water jumped into the air, and a wash of water followed.

    American Notes

    Rudyard Kipling

  • There was no outcry; simply a spurt of blood and brain, and all was over.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • "I asked him what he'd been doing with himself all the summer," Barbara went on with a spurt.

  • The dun had been hard ridden in the spurt to gain the mountains ahead of the posse.

    The Coyote

    James Roberts

  • A spurt of laughter dies into a shiver of repugnance at the action.

British Dictionary definitions for spurt




to gush or cause to gush forth in a sudden stream or jet
to make a sudden effort


a sudden forceful stream or jet
a short burst of activity, speed, or energy

Word Origin for spurt

C16: perhaps related to Middle High German sprützen to squirt
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 spurt

"to gush out, squirt," 1560s, variant of spirt, perhaps cognate with Middle High German spürzen "to spit," and sprützen "to squirt" (see sprout). The noun in this sense is attested from 1775.


"brief burst of activity," 1560s, variant of spirt "brief period of time" (1540s), of uncertain origin, perhaps somehow connected with spurt (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper