[ spyoo-tuhm ]
/ ˈspyu təm /
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noun, plural spu·ta [spyoo-tuh]. /ˈspyu tə/.

matter, as saliva mixed with mucus or pus, expectorated from the lungs and respiratory passages.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of sputum

1685–95; <Latin spūtum, noun use of neuter of spūtus, past participle of spuere to spit, equivalent to spū- variant stem + -tus past participle suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for sputum

British Dictionary definitions for sputum

/ (ˈspjuːtəm) /

noun plural -ta (-tə)

a mass of salivary matter ejected from the mouth
saliva ejected from the mouth mixed with mucus or pus exuded from the respiratory passages, as in bronchitis or bronchiectasis

Word Origin for sputum

C17: from Latin: spittle, from spuere to spit out
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

Medical definitions for sputum

[ spyōōtəm ]

n. pl. spu•ta (-tə)

Matter coughed up and usually expelled from the mouth, especially mucus or mucopurulent matter expectorated in diseases of the air passages.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.