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

  • intransitive v. To speak with involuntary pauses or repetitions.
  • transitive v. To utter with involuntary pauses or repetitions.
  • n. A way of speaking characterized by involuntary pauses or repetitions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To keep repeating a particular sound involuntarily.
  • n. The involuntary repetition of a sound in speech.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Defective utterance, or involuntary interruption of utterance; a stutter.
  • intransitive v. To make involuntary stops in uttering syllables or words; to hesitate or falter in speaking; to speak with stops and difficulty; to stutter.
  • transitive v. To utter or pronounce with hesitation or imperfectly; -- sometimes with out.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To hesitate or falter in speaking; hence, to speak with involuntary breaks and pauses.
  • To stumble or stagger.
  • Synonyms Falter, Stammer, Stutter. He who falters weakens or breaks more or less completely in utterance; the act is occasional, not habitual, and for reasons that are primarily moral, belong to the occasion, and may be various. He who stammers has great difficulty in uttering anything; the act may be occasional or habitual; the cause is confusion, shyness, timidity, or actual fear; the result is broken and inarticulate sounds that seem to stick in the mouth, and sometimes complete suppression of voice. He who stutters makes sounds that are not what he desires to make; the act is almost always habitual, especially in its worst forms; the cause is often excitement; the result is a quick repetition of some one sound that is initial in a word that the person desires to utter, as c-c-c-c-catch.
  • To utter or pronounce with hesitation or imperfectly; especially, to utter with involuntary breaks or catches: frequently with out.
  • n. Defective utterance; a stutter: as, to be troubled with a stammer. See stammering.

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

  • v. speak haltingly
  • n. a speech disorder involving hesitations and involuntary repetitions of certain sounds


Middle English stameren, from Old English stamerian.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English stamerian. Cf. German stammeln. (Wiktionary)


  • Without even the pretext of a synoptic bridge, he concludes: The stammer was a way of telling the world that he was not like others, a way of expressing his singularity.

    Knotted Tongues

  • The stammer was a surprise, and the sudden nervous flickering of long brown lashes that briefly veiled the lively eyes was the first sign of unease Cadfael had detected in him.

    The Raven In The Foregate

  • Probably the stammer is the effort of the young ones to sing.

    John Keble's Parishes

  • Tom Hooper's account of George VI's struggle to beat his stammer was a hit with cinemagoers and critics - only academics pooh-poohed its historical accuracy. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • Once, he believed that his stammer was a reaction to the furious fluency of his father, whose politics he abhorred, but now he tends to think it was a way of protecting himself against his own feelings of aggression. - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • To say that a stammer is the cause of literary greatness would be a stretch.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • "The most enduring metaphor for me is that my stammer is a person," he said in an interview last year.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • At first I thought she was Joanie Simmond’s youngest, the one with the speech disorder—what we used to call a stammer but apparently you can’t say that anymore—but then I thought, I know where I know that face.

    Songs of Love & Death

  • "It wasn't got," he replied, in a kind of stammer; "an 'as to Sally, the nerra one o' me knows any thing about her, since she left this."

    The Dead Boxer The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two

  • One thing a casual viewer learns to love, if he is going to like Stewart at all, is a kind of stammer that trips in naturally and convincingly - a signature touch he seldom allowed to pass into self-parody until his late fifties.

    New Statesman


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