View synonyms for sputter


[ spuht-er ]

verb (used without object)

  1. to make explosive popping or sizzling sounds.
  2. to emit particles, sparks, etc., forcibly or explosively, especially accompanied by sputtering sounds.
  3. to eject particles of saliva, food, etc., from the mouth in a light spray, as when speaking angrily or excitedly.
  4. to utter or spit out words or sounds explosively or incoherently, as when angry or flustered.

verb (used with object)

  1. to emit (anything) forcibly and in small particles, as if by spitting:

    The fire sputtered cinders.

  2. to eject (saliva, food, etc.) in small particles explosively and involuntarily, as in excitement.
  3. to utter explosively and incoherently.


  1. the act or sound of sputtering.
  2. explosive, incoherent utterance.
  3. matter ejected in sputtering.


/ ˈspʌtə /


  1. another word for splutter splutter splutter
  2. physics
    1. to undergo or cause to undergo a process in which atoms of a solid are removed from its surface by the impact of high-energy ions, as in a discharge tube
    2. to coat (a film of a metal) onto (a solid surface) by using this process


  1. the process or noise of sputtering
  2. incoherent stammering speech
  3. something that is ejected while sputtering
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Derived Forms

  • ˈsputterer, noun
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Other Words From

  • sputter·er noun
  • sputter·ing·ly adverb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of sputter1

1590–1600; sput- (variant of spout ) + -er 6; cognate with Dutch sputteren
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Word History and Origins

Origin of sputter1

C16: from Dutch sputteren, of imitative origin
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Example Sentences

The cell’s energy factory, the mitochondria, sputters and malfunctions.

They continue to sputter up and down, without fully recovering.

If the only policy tool you allow yourself to use is tax credits, your reform agenda will sputter into ineffectuality.

Here's one graf: The Woodward reporting has caused the White House spin machine to sputter at a crucial time.

And racial divisions may become worse if the economy continues to sputter.

The veranda, roofless and open to the bitter blue sky where the seasonal gu rains sputter, serves as a makeshift neonatal ward.

She glanced uneasily at Gwynne and fancied she could hear him slam the lid of his breeding upon a supercilious sputter.

She laughed so hard that she blew the ashes out of her pipe, and they showered down over my face, and made me wink and sputter.

Welcome worked the requisite levers, the machine began to sputter, and the boys gave it a shove.

With a wheezy sputter, it stopped dead, refusing to answer the frantic twists Perry gave the handle-bars.

Then all they'll do is buzz and sputter until the feedback is broken with the key.


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