Main definitions of spat in English

: spat1spat2spat3spat4

spat1

  • past and past participle of spit

Pronunciation:

spat

/spat/

Main definitions of spat in English

: spat1spat2spat3spat4

spat2

noun

  • 1usually spatshistorical A short cloth gaiter covering the instep and ankle.

    • ‘Flustered, the blonde boy untied his spats, and took off one of his sock-shoes, sort of hopping around on one foot while doing so.’
    • ‘You can also take off those spats and gauntlets.’
    • ‘His father was dressed in a rubber macintosh, with thick domestic gloves, spats, and a trilby hat.’
  • 2A cover for the upper part of an aircraft wheel.

Origin

Early 19th century: abbreviation of spatterdash.

Pronunciation:

spat

/spat/

Main definitions of spat in English

: spat1spat2spat3spat4

spat3

noun

informal
  • A quarrel about an unimportant matter:

    ‘when we had our little spats, he had only to smile to get back on the right side of me’
    • ‘Family comes first - and petty spats and annoyances are put aside for the greater good of the Shaws.’
    • ‘They're typical brothers, so they get into these little spats with each other sometimes, and they separate them.’
    • ‘After a year of bitter public spats with powerful group chieftains - especially in the steel and hotel businesses - Tata ousted them and installed new management.’
    • ‘God, how I hated to be put in the middle of their spats.’
    • ‘He said he believed that most inter-union spats were caused by unhappiness with the service provided, rather than active ‘poaching’ by another union.’
    • ‘Occasionally, there seemed to be a personal edge to their courtroom spats.’
    • ‘As much as we had spats, I had to admit: the guy is great.’
    • ‘Fay and Dave seldom fought and when they did it was usually little spats, bought on by Fay's fiery personality.’
    • ‘However, eighteenth-century England was not without its religious spats.’
    • ‘Her sister never told anyone about their little spats.’
    • ‘You guys were having another one of you lover's spats, weren't you?’
    • ‘They often had tiny spats about Maddie's aversion to anything girlish or even hinting towards being a woman.’
    • ‘It was the usual routine, after one of their spats Antony would go in angry at her, and come out groveling at her feet to take him back.’
    • ‘We've been together for 35 minutes and nary a spat yet.’
    • ‘Since she moved in, most of my spats with Martin over things like dishes and toothpaste tops have virtually disappeared - she just quietly does things.’
    • ‘Soon after we met, Slater was in the papers again after his wife allegedly broke a glass over his head during a violent spat.’
    • ‘There still were the little daily spats between them.’
    • ‘Almost immediately they run into a pointless spat with local tough guys that spirals into a violent feud.’
    • ‘Sandy and I have had spats in the past, and we're going to have them going forward.’
    • ‘After endless bickering, they overcome their spats and, together again (perhaps still drunk), fight their way to a glorious victory.’
    disturbance, quarrel, scuffle, brawl, affray, tussle, melee, free-for-all, fight, clash, skirmish, brouhaha, riot, uproar, commotion
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verb

[NO OBJECT]informal
  • Quarrel about an unimportant matter:

    ‘people expected him and his wife to spat continually’
    • ‘The latest trouble to hit Airbus involves a transatlantic spat over aircraft subsidies.’
    quarrel, disagree, row, squabble, bicker, fight, wrangle, dispute, feud, have a row, bandy words, have words, cross swords, lock horns, be at each other's throats
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 19th century (originally a US colloquial usage): probably imitative.

Pronunciation:

spat

/spat/

Main definitions of spat in English

: spat1spat2spat3spat4

spat4

noun

  • [mass noun] The spawn or larvae of shellfish, especially oysters:

    ‘oyster larvae attach themselves as spat to old shells’

Origin

Mid 17th century: from Anglo-Norman French, of unknown ultimate origin.

Pronunciation:

spat

/spat/