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

  • intransitive verb To scatter (a liquid, for example) in drops or small amounts.
  • intransitive verb To spot, splash, or soil with drops or small amounts.
  • intransitive verb To strike or land on in a dispersed way.
  • intransitive verb To come forth in drops or small amounts.
  • intransitive verb To fall in a shower or make contact in a dispersed way, as rain or bullets.
  • noun The act or an instance of spattering.
  • noun A spattering sound.
  • noun A drop or splash of something spattered.
  • noun A small amount; a smattering.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The act of spattering, or the state of being spattered; a spattering or splashing effect.
  • noun A quick succession of not very loud sounds, such as is produced by the spattering of some substance.
  • noun That which is spattered; a small splash, as of something thrown or falling in drops: as, a spatter of milk, ink, or mud on one's clothes.
  • To scatter or throw about carelessly, as some fluid or semi-fluid substance; dash or splash so as to fall in spreading drops or small quantities: as, to spatter water or mud over a person; to spatter oaths or calumnies.
  • To dash or splash upon; bespatter, literally or figuratively: as, to spatter a person with water, mud, or slander.
  • To sputter; act or talk in a sputtering manner.
  • To undergo or cause scattering or splashing in drops or small quantities.

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

  • transitive verb To sprinkle with a liquid or with any wet substance, as water, mud, or the like; to make wet of foul spots upon by sprinkling.
  • transitive verb To distribute by sprinkling; to sprinkle around.
  • transitive verb Fig.: To injure by aspersion; to defame; to soil; also, to throw out in a defamatory manner.
  • intransitive verb To throw something out of the mouth in a scattering manner; to sputter.

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

  • verb To splash with small droplets.

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

  • verb spot, splash, or soil
  • noun the act of splashing a (liquid) substance on a surface
  • noun the noise of something spattering or sputtering explosively
  • verb dash a liquid upon or against
  • verb rain gently


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

[Perhaps of Low German origin.]


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  • ... They had

    no need to slaughter the beast - spattered gore

    stained Zygmunt's forearms a fortnight.

    - Peter Reading, Zygmunt, from Nothing for Anyone, 1977

    June 26, 2008