Definition of splutter in English:



[no object]
  • 1Make a series of short explosive spitting or choking sounds.

    ‘she coughed and spluttered, tears coursing down her face’
    • ‘Will I emerge gasping and spluttering, bleary-eyed; or will I learn to hold my breath, to close my eyes?’
    • ‘Vic looked at them as a sooty Tom coughed and spluttered.’
    • ‘But be warned - take a deep breath before you push that button or, like me, you could find yourself gasping and spluttering amid a thick mist of spray.’
    • ‘The man choked and spluttered, but didn't answer.’
    • ‘Julia splutters as she swallows the last sip of her wine.’
    • ‘Her nostrils flare and she splutters, frothing bubbles from her nose, laying a thick trail of wrong wayed fluid in her wind pipe, but holding in the cough; drinking, and putting everything else on hold.’
    • ‘Trying to scramble back onto the bank all grace aside, she kicked and spluttered.’
    • ‘Matt spluttered, letting a small bit of his beer spill from his mouth, ‘I thought he took out the cameras!’’
    • ‘I gave a gasping cry and began breathing heavily, then choked and spluttered for his benefit.’
    • ‘‘It wasn't much, around seven million,’ she paused as the Inspector choked and spluttered.’
    • ‘At last the tractor began to spit and splutter in protest and Papa and I knew that our efforts had nearly paid off.’
    • ‘The heater coughed and spluttered loudly and we both laughed nervously, trying to ease the tension.’
    • ‘You will find it splutters around, sometimes spitting spots of fuel from the exhaust, not seeming very impressive.’
    • ‘It overheated, it clunked, it smoked, stuttered, spluttered and on more than one occasion - blew up.’
    • ‘As the Boss choked and spluttered for air he fished in his pocket for something.’
    • ‘His brother spluttered all the way to the table but to no avail.’
    • ‘Kara sipped the one he handed her and spluttered.’
    • ‘Norwood coughed and spluttered, trying to speak.’
    • ‘She began to cough and splutter sickly, the urge to do so appearing quite abruptly.’
    • ‘I run this by Mrs Webber who splutters for a second.’
    jabber, babble, prattle, rattle, blabber, gibber, cackle, blab, drivel, twitter
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    1. 1.1reporting verb Say something rapidly, indistinctly, and with a spitting sound, as a result of anger, embarrassment, or another strong emotion.
      with object ‘he began to splutter excuses’
      with direct speech ‘‘How dare you?’ she spluttered’
      • ‘‘There are tragic things that happen all over the world’, he spluttered.’
      • ‘Patrick spluttered, ‘You, you had no right to trick me like this.’’
      • ‘‘You,’ he splutters, turning red in the face, ‘you've drugged her!’’
      • ‘‘It's absolutely scandalous,’ he splutters.’
      • ‘It must have been too much for him that he could only splutter, ‘I don't believe it!’
      • ‘‘Kara - Kara Sarris,’ he finally spluttered the words out.’
      • ‘I spluttered, ‘Well, if it bothers you, Jacquiline, I won't go with her.’’
      • ‘‘Oh God,’ I spluttered, as I leapt to my feet and rushed to the bathroom.’
      • ‘The lips of the sentinel quivered as he spluttered out the words: ‘I - apologise, my Lord!’’
      • ‘That didn't matter, though, as the infuriated lord proceeded to splutter his way through a listing of the problems.’
    2. 1.2with object Spit (something) out from one's mouth noisily and in small splashes.
      ‘spluttering brackish water, he struggled to regain his feet’
      • ‘Maybe it's the joy of playing it to friends who pride themselves on liking extreme music, and watching them splutter tea down their fronts.’
      • ‘He splutters water as he tries to inhale more air.’
      snap, say angrily, hiss, rasp
      View synonyms


  • A short explosive spitting or choking noise.

    ‘the engine gave one final splutter and died’
    ‘a splutter of laughter’
    • ‘A spindly old man produced a bagpipe and blew it in competition with the flutist, beginning in wild, warlike tones and ending with an ignominious splutter and hiss.’
    • ‘As it turned out, the opening 45 minutes of the film are by far the most entertaining; the coughs and splutters come later.’
    • ‘She nodded, understanding, ignoring Aaron's splutters of indignation.’
    • ‘With a final awkward splutter, the flame barrier vanished.’
    • ‘All this, including conversations à trois at cross-purposes, with three-way splutters, is supposed to make the play more interesting but merely makes it all the more annoying.’
    • ‘No sobs or splutters or hiccoughs spilled from her trembling lip, although, her lip did tremble.’
    • ‘Steve and Andy stand in front of us and collapse into ridiculous splutters.’
    • ‘Each splutter sprayed scarlet beads over her ghost-white frame, and over Raven when Nelly snatched at her shoulders in an attempt to steady herself.’
    • ‘I find myself increasingly irritated by the occasional coughs and splutters of the audience.’
    • ‘The words came out in short excited little splutters.’
    • ‘He couldn't help but think it strange that she greeted him in a splutter.’
    • ‘They wait for what seems an eternity in the waiting area amongst a baby's cries, coughs, splutters and a awkward, piercing, silence.’
    • ‘Beth started the old car and after and few coughs, and splutters, it began to move.’


Late 17th century: imitative; compare with sputter.