Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A larva of an oyster or similar bivalve that has settled by attaching to a surface.
  • noun A cloth or leather gaiter covering the shoe upper and the ankle and fastening under the shoe with a strap.
  • noun A brief quarrel.
  • noun Informal A slap or smack.
  • noun A spattering sound, as of raindrops.
  • intransitive verb To engage in a brief quarrel.
  • intransitive verb To strike with a light spattering sound; slap.
  • intransitive verb To slap.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The spawn of shell-fish; specifically, the spawn of the oyster; also, a young oyster, or young oysters collectively, up to about the time of their becoming set, or fixed to some support. See
  • noun A gaiter or legging.
  • To spatter; defile.
  • To spawn, as an oyster; shed spat.
  • To shed or emit (spawn), as an oyster.
  • noun A light blow or slap.
  • noun A large drop; a spatter: as, two or three spats of rain fell.
  • noun A petty contest; a little quarrel or dissension.
  • A preterit of spit.
  • noun A spot; stain; place.
  • To give a light blow to, especially with the flat of the hand; strike lightly; slap: as, to spat dough; to spat one's hands together.
  • To engage in a trivial quarrel or dispute; have a petty contest.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun U.S. & Prov. Eng. A light blow with something flat.
  • noun United States Hence, a petty combat, esp. a verbal one; a little quarrel, dispute, or dissension.
  • noun Scot. & Dial. Eng. A legging; a gaiter.
  • noun A kind of short cloth or leather gaiter worn over the upper part of the shoe and fastened beneath the instep; -- chiefly in pl.
  • noun A young oyster or other bivalve mollusk, both before and after it first becomes adherent, or such young, collectively.
  • transitive verb Local, U.S. To slap, as with the open hand; to clap together; as the hands.
  • intransitive verb rare To dispute.
  • Obs. or R. imp. of spit.
  • verb To emit spawn; to emit, as spawn.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An obsolete unit of distance in astronomy (symbol S), equal to one billion kilometres.
  • verb transitive and intransitive To strike with a spattering sound.
  • verb US, dialect To slap, as with the open hand; to clap together, as the hands.
  • noun The spawn of shellfish, especially oysters and similar molluscs.
  • verb To spawn. Used of shellfish as above.
  • noun A covering or decorative covering worn over a shoe.
  • noun automotive (UK, Australia) A piece of bodywork that covers the upper portions of the rear tyres of a car.
  • verb Simple past tense and past participle of spit.
  • noun a brief argument, fall out, quarrel
  • verb to quarrel or argue briefly

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

  • verb become permanently attached
  • verb clap one's hands or shout after performances to indicate approval
  • noun a young oyster or other bivalve
  • verb come down like raindrops
  • verb spawn
  • verb engage in a brief and petty quarrel
  • noun a quarrel about petty points
  • verb strike with a sound like that of falling rain
  • verb clap one's hands together
  • noun a cloth covering (a legging) that covers the instep and ankles

Etymologies

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

[Middle English.]

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

[Short for spatterdash : spatter + dash.]

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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin spatium ("space")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Attested from 1823.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Of uncertain origin; perhaps related to spit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Shortening of spatterdash, from spatter + dash. 1779.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English spittan, spætan

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1804. American English, unknown origin.

Examples

  • The decided _spat, spat, spat_ of the reversing blows from the caulked boots sounded like picket firing.

    Americans All Stories of American Life of To-Day

  • The decided _spat, spat, spat_ of the reversing blows from the caulked boots sounded like picket firing.

    Blazed Trail Stories and Stories of the Wild Life

  • He des keep on agoin ', _spat, spat, spat_, an' when he come out front de

    The Price

  • Joeboy raised first one and then another great stone upon the edge as he was told, and Denham stepped up directly to look between them, but bobbed his head and stepped down again directly, for _spat, spat, spat_, three rifle-bullets struck the stones and fell rattling down.

    Charge! A Story of Briton and Boer

  • _spat, spat, spat_, three bullets struck stones near us, making it evident that we were well in view, and that the Boers were making targets of the different members of the group.

    Charge! A Story of Briton and Boer

  • Do you disagree with Professor Tamanaha's statement that the question has been begged, the question being whether or not what Kmiec, in true apologist form, tries to minimize as a "spat" is something about which reasonable minds can disagree, rather than dealing with a fundamentally flawed, non-viable, unreasonable argument?

    Balkinization

  • Do you disagree with Professor Tamanaha's statement that the question has been begged, the question being whether or not what Kmiec, in true apologist form, tries to minimize as a "spat" is something about which reasonable minds can disagree, rather than dealing with a fundamentally flawed, non-viable, unreasonable argument?

    Balkinization

  • Do you disagree with Professor Tamanaha's statement that the question has been begged, the question being whether or not what Kmiec, in true apologist form, tries to minimize as a "spat" is something about which reasonable minds can disagree, rather than dealing with a fundamentally flawed, non-viable, unreasonable argument?

    Balkinization

  • Do you disagree with Professor Tamanaha's statement that the question has been begged, the question being whether or not what Kmiec, in true apologist form, tries to minimize as a "spat" is something about which reasonable minds can disagree, rather than dealing with a fundamentally flawed, non-viable, unreasonable argument?

    Balkinization

  • Do you disagree with Professor Tamanaha's statement that the question has been begged, the question being whether or not what Kmiec, in true apologist form, tries to minimize as a "spat" is something about which reasonable minds can disagree, rather than dealing with a fundamentally flawed, non-viable, unreasonable argument?

    Balkinization

Comments

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  • obs. astronomic measurement of about 1e12 meters.

    December 10, 2006

  • a young oyster

    July 17, 2007

  • Ugly shoe covers that cover even uglier shoes.

    July 17, 2007

  • And a petty quarrel.

    July 17, 2007

  • And the past tense of spit.

    July 17, 2007

  • Hey! I like the shoe spats - they're so debonair.

    July 17, 2007

  • I was raised to say spat as the past tense of spit. I never heard the end of it as a kid! What a freak I was.

    July 17, 2007

  • But it *is* the past tense of spit, unless you are cooking - who would want to eat a spat/roasted chicken?

    July 17, 2007

  • So were we, u--it *is* the past tense of spit, as trivet says. But there were so many of us that I guess no one bothered to challenge us. ;-)

    July 17, 2007

  • I'm thinking of the cheap vinyl spats that they force upon marching band members, usually to cover huge, white shoes.

    July 17, 2007