Definition of sputter in English:

sputter

verb

  • 1[no object] Make a series of soft explosive or spitting sounds:

    ‘the engine sputtered and stopped’
    • ‘The engine sputtered to life, and the car pulled back.’
    • ‘The dust filled her lungs, making her sputter and cough.’
    • ‘The engine sputtered and smoked and eventually stopped.’
    • ‘Even our jeep sputtered from lack of oxygen and finally stopped about a mile from the top.’
    • ‘The chestnuts on the fire sputtered and crackled noisily.’
    • ‘The engine coughed, sputtered, then died altogether.’
    • ‘The bike's engine sputtered and then roared back to life as the two of them hopped on.’
    • ‘We went on for about five more minutes, and then the car sputtered again, and stopped.’
    • ‘If the filter gets clogged with dirt, the car sputters and stalls.’
    • ‘The engine sputtered, struggled and finally roared to life.’
    • ‘Then, at 5,200 feet, the engine sputtered and, without any input, went up to 72 percent.’
    • ‘A second later the engine roared, sputtered and then turned over as the aging car came to life, the noisy motor provoking shrieks of anger from the sparrows nesting amidst the roofs.’
    • ‘Sure enough, about 15 minutes later the tap sputtered and a feeble flow of water began.’
    • ‘Behind me, Drew's car sputtered down the street, the sound getting fainter and fainter as he took a corner and drove off into the night.’
    • ‘A few moments later an engine sputtered from somewhere nearby.’
    • ‘The enemy plane, its engine sputtering, lost altitude and turned back toward Pola.’
    • ‘The engine sputtered and leaked steam and water, but it ran, better than I'd expected it to.’
    • ‘It roars to life and sputters noisily, but Hill assures me this has nothing to do with the biodiesel; the van just needs some work.’
    • ‘The walls danced with red ochre light as the flame sputtered and spat.’
    • ‘They made their way back to the door, the fire hissing and sputtering all around them.’
    1. 1.1[reporting verb] Speak in a series of incoherent bursts as a result of strong emotion:
      [with direct speech] ‘‘But … but …’ she sputtered’
      • ‘The girl sputtered a few incoherent words and then fainted on the spot.’
      • ‘‘Well, I'll be damned,’ Jerry sputtered.’
      • ‘His wife sputtered incoherently for a moment before shouting, ‘But he cannot afford to marry her!’’
      • ‘‘Your Highness,’ Nicole sputtered, then stopped, still too surprised to say anything more.’
      • ‘Myrtle turned red, sputtering something that Nick didn't hear.’
      • ‘I turned red and sputtered something incoherent.’
      • ‘She was at a loss for words, sputtering incoherently at him.’
      • ‘Thompson's face turned red, he recalls, and she sputtered something about having too many events to attend and not enough time.’
      • ‘‘B-But I - he's - this won't work!’ Gabriel sputtered.’
      • ‘And it is time for him to stop sputtering ill-tempered threats, not only at the judiciary but also at the U.S. Constitution, which he repeatedly has sworn an oath to uphold.’
      • ‘Warren saw the expression on her face and I mentally cackled as he immediately started sputtering an apology.’
      • ‘The young man made a choked coughing sound and sputtered something that sounded like rot in Hell.’
      • ‘The warden sputtered a comment or two in protest, but let himself be led outside.’
      • ‘Her mouth opened in indignation as she sputtered incoherent, half-formed words.’
      • ‘Mrs. Hastings sputtered incoherently in response before suddenly jumping to her feet in a desperate attempt to compose herself.’
      • ‘Chester sat up in bed painfully, and sputtered some nonsense about suing the hospital.’
      • ‘Yeah, for now, I'm angry enough that I can barely sputter, never mind speak or write coherently.’
    2. 1.2[with object] Emit with a spitting sound:
      ‘the goose is in the oven, sputtering fat’
      • ‘The shower head began to spit and sputter out hot water.’
    3. 1.3[with adverbial] Proceed in a spasmodic and feeble way:
      ‘strikes in the public services sputtered on’
      • ‘Defeated in Lombardy, the revolution sputtered on in Venice, Tuscany, Rome, and Sicily.’
      • ‘But whether an official recovery comes early or later, the economy will continue to sputter.’
      • ‘The U.S. economy seems poised to rebound one moment, then sputters the next.’
      • ‘When the economy sputters, insurance payments help fuel consumption and get things back on track.’
      • ‘These traditionally rural states will continue to struggle, particularly in today's sputtering economy.’
      • ‘However, after getting off to a smashing start, the show sputters.’
      • ‘The dollar rally also sputtered this week, as the greenback lost about 1%.’
      • ‘So long as Europe's largest economy sputters, it is hard to see a real threat of inflation in the region.’
      • ‘The bubble burst late last year as the economy started sputtering, and now about 10 per cent of credit card debt is more than one month overdue in Asia's fourth-largest economy.’
      • ‘The central bank is expected to cut interest rates today for the sixth time this year in an effort to boost bank lending and spur sputtering economic growth.’
      • ‘The Fed has already cut rates seven times this year, by a total of three full percentage points, to try to reignite sputtering economic growth.’
      • ‘The romance sputters thanks to mediocre acting on the part of Gruffudd and Alba.’
      crackle, sputter, buzz, hiss, crack
      View synonyms
  • 2Physics
    [with object] Deposit (metal) on a surface by using fast ions to eject particles of it from a target.

    • ‘Thin layers of chromium and gold were sequentially sputtered on the substrates using the following procedure.’
    • ‘We prepared the filters for SEM analysis by sputtering a thin gold film on them.’
    • ‘Motorola uses the same machinery to deposit the magnetic maternal as that used to sputter the magnetic oxide on to disk drive platters.’
    1. 2.1 Coat (a surface) with a spray of metal particles emitted from a target that is bombarded with fast ions.
      • ‘Some amber pieces were sputtered with carbon for this treatment and filaments of several amber pieces were scanned.’
      • ‘After critical point drying samples were sputtered with gold and investigated in a Zeiss DSM 962 scanning electron microscope.’

noun

  • A series of soft explosive or spitting sounds:

    ‘the sputter of the motor died away’
    • ‘Then, with a small sputter of exhaust, the car was off again, pulling away from the lot and off towards the main road.’
    • ‘They spoke little, each of them thinking his own thoughts, but it was a companionable silence, punctuated by the sputter and crackle of the fire.’
    • ‘Inside the building, Paul Meyer and his two young colleagues listened to the sputters of a cheap diesel generator.’
    • ‘Chin heard gasps and sputters in the background.’
    • ‘Now I could hear the sputter of machine gun fire; the booms and screeches of torpedoes.’
    • ‘The cruiser's engines sparked and roared to life after a few sputters.’

Origin

Late 16th century (as a verb): from Dutch sputteren, of imitative origin.

Pronunciation

sputter

/ˈspʌtə/