verb (used with or without object)

to speak in such a way that the rhythm is interrupted by repetitions, blocks or spasms, or prolongations of sounds or syllables, sometimes accompanied by contortions of the face and body.


distorted speech characterized principally by blocks or spasms interrupting the rhythm.

Origin of stutter

1520–30; earlier stut (Middle English stutten to stutter) + -er6; compare Dutch stotteren, Middle Low German stotern in same sense
Related formsstut·ter·er, nounstut·ter·ing·ly, adverbun·stut·tered, adjectiveun·stut·ter·ing, adjective
Can be confusedstammer stutter (see synonym study at stammer)

Synonyms for stutter

1. See stammer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for stutter

sputter, stammer, falter, hesitate, stumble, splutter, dribble

Examples from the Web for stutter

Contemporary Examples of stutter

Historical Examples of stutter

British Dictionary definitions for stutter



to speak (a word, phrase, etc) with recurring repetition of consonants, esp initial ones
to make (an abrupt sound) repeatedlythe gun stuttered


the act or habit of stuttering
a stuttering sound
Derived Formsstutterer, nounstuttering, noun, adjectivestutteringly, adverb

Word Origin for stutter

C16: related to Middle Low German stötern, Old High German stōzan to push against, Latin tundere to beat
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 stutter

1560s, frequentative form of stutt, from Middle English stutten "to stutter, stammer" (late 14c.), cognate with Middle Low German stoten "to knock, strike against, collide," from Proto-Germanic *staut- "push, thrust" (cf. Old English stotan, Old High German stozan, Gothic stautan "to push, thrust"), from PIE *(s)teu- (see steep (adj.)). The noun is attested from 1854.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

stutter in Medicine




A phonatory or articulatory disorder characterized by difficult enunciation of words with frequent halting and repetition of the initial consonant or syllable.


To utter with spasmodic repetition or prolongation of sounds.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

stutter in Science



A speech disorder characterized by spasmodic repetition of the initial consonant or syllable of words and frequent pauses or prolongation of sounds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.