Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

stammer

[stam-er]
See more synonyms for stammer on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to speak with involuntary breaks and pauses, or with spasmodic repetitions of syllables or sounds.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to say with a stammer (often followed by out).
Show More
noun
  1. a stammering mode of utterance.
  2. a stammered utterance.
Show More

Origin of stammer

before 1000; Middle English stammeren (v.), Old English stamerian (cognate with German stammern), equivalent to stam stammering + -erian -er6; akin to Old Norse stamma to stammer, Gothic stams stammering
Related formsstam·mer·er, nounstam·mer·ing·ly, adverbun·stam·mer·ing, adjectiveun·stam·mer·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedstammer stutter (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms

See more synonyms for stammer on Thesaurus.com
1. pause, hesitate, falter. Stammer, stutter mean to speak with some form of difficulty. Stammer, the general term, suggests a speech difficulty that results in broken or inarticulate sounds and sometimes in complete stoppage of speech; it may be temporary, caused by sudden excitement, confusion, embarrassment, or other emotion, or it may be so deep-seated as to require special treatment for its correction. Stutter, the parallel term preferred in technical usage, designates a broad range of defects that produce spasmodic interruptions of the speech rhythm, repetitions, or prolongations of sounds or syllables: The child's stutter was no mere stammer of embarrassment.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for stammer

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But the wish to laugh had returned, and made her stammer, interrupting her at each word.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • He backed, and began to stammer an apology; but she did not wait to hear a word of it.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • He was alone, beside himself, with livid face and scarce able to stammer.

    Fruitfulness

    Emile Zola

  • The best he could do was to stammer a hope that she would not be obliged to sell the house.

    Galusha the Magnificent

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Her "guess" was so close to the truth that I could only stammer and hesitate.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln


British Dictionary definitions for stammer

stammer

verb
  1. to speak or say (something) in a hesitant way, esp as a result of a speech disorder or through fear, stress, etc
Show More
noun
  1. a speech disorder characterized by involuntary repetitions and hesitations
Show More
Derived Formsstammerer, nounstammering, noun, adjectivestammeringly, adverb

Word Origin

Old English stamerian; related to Old Saxon stamarōn, Old High German stamm
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 stammer

v.

Old English stamerian, from West Germanic *stamrojan (cf. Old Norse stammr, Old High German stam, Gothic stamms "stammering," Middle Dutch stameren, German stammeln "to stammer," Old Frisian and German stumm "dumb"), from PIE root *stam-, *stum- "check, impede" (see stem (v.)).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stammer in Medicine

stammer

(stămər)
n.
  1. A speech disorder characterized by hesitation and repetition of sounds, or by mispronunciation or transposition of certain consonants, especially l, r, and s.
Show More
v.
  1. To speak with a stammer.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.