Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To spit out or spray particles of saliva or food from the mouth in noisy bursts.
  • intransitive v. To spit out words or sounds in an excited or confused manner.
  • intransitive v. To make sporadic spitting or popping sounds: The fire sputtered and died.
  • intransitive v. Physics To cause the atoms of a solid to be removed from the surface by bombardment with atoms in a discharge tube.
  • transitive v. To eject in short bursts with spitting or popping sounds.
  • transitive v. To utter in an excited or confused manner.
  • transitive v. Physics To coat (a solid surface) with metal atoms by sputtering.
  • n. The act or sound of sputtering.
  • n. Matter emitted in sputtering.
  • n. Excited or confused utterance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Moist matter thrown out in small detached particles; also, confused and hasty speech.
  • v. To spit, or to emit saliva from the mouth in small, scattered portions, as in rapid speaking.
  • v. To utter words hastily and indistinctly; to speak so rapidly as to emit saliva.
  • v. To throw out anything, as little jets of steam, with a noise like that made by one sputtering.
  • v. To spit out hastily by quick, successive efforts, with a spluttering sound; to utter hastily and confusedly, without control over the organs of speech.
  • v. (intransitive) To cause surface atoms or electrons of a solid to be ejected by bombarding it with heavy atoms or ions
  • v. (transitive) To coat the surface of an object by sputtering

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Moist matter thrown out in small detached particles; also, confused and hasty speech.
  • intransitive v. To spit, or to emit saliva from the mouth in small, scattered portions, as in rapid speaking.
  • intransitive v. To utter words hastily and indistinctly; to speak so rapidly as to emit saliva.
  • intransitive v. To throw out anything, as little jets of steam, with a noise like that made by one sputtering.
  • transitive v. To spit out hastily by quick, successive efforts, with a spluttering sound; to utter hastily and confusedly, without control over the organs of speech.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To spit, or eject saliva from the mouth in small or scattered bits; hence, to throw out moisture in small detached parts and with small explosions; emit small particles, as of grease, soot, etc., with some crackling or noise.
  • To speak so rapidly and vehemently as to seem to spit out the words, as in excitement or anger.
  • To emit forcibly in small or scattered portions, as saliva, flame, etc.; spit out noisily.
  • To emit in small particles or amounts with slight explosions: as, the candle sputters smoke; a green stick sputters out steam.
  • To utter rapidly and with indistinctness; jabber.
  • n. The act of sputtering.
  • n. That which is thrown off or ejected in sputtering.
  • n. The noise made by a person who or a thing which sputters; hence, bustle; ado; excited talk; squabble.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the noise of something spattering or sputtering explosively
  • n. an utterance (of words) with spitting sounds (as in rage)
  • v. spit up in an explosive manner
  • v. climb awkwardly, as if by scrambling
  • v. cause to undergo a process in which atoms are removed
  • v. utter with a spitting sound, as if in a rage
  • v. make an explosive sound

Etymologies

Probably of Low German origin; akin to Dutch sputteren.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Probably representing Middle English *sputren, *sputrien, a frequentative form of sputen ("to spout, vomit"), equivalent to spout +‎ -er. Cognate with Eastern Frisian spüttern ("to inject, spray, splash"), West Frisian sputterje ("to sputter"), Dutch sputteren ("to sputter"), Low German sputtern, spruttern ("to sprinkle"), German sprudeln ("to spout, squirt"). Compare splutter. (Wiktionary)

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