Definition of stammer in English:

stammer

verb

[no object]
  • 1Speak with sudden involuntary pauses and a tendency to repeat the initial letters of words.

    ‘he turned red and started stammering’
    • ‘Frequent headaches may be independent, but because they make you tense, and you have a tendency to stammer, you probably do so during a headache.’
    • ‘‘N-n-n-no problem,’ replied Chastity, stammering at his sudden courage.’
    • ‘Da Vinci is almost the only TV program I can think of where people speak as they do in real life: they stammer, trail off, repeat themselves, go on unrelated tangents, and loop back into continuing conversations.’
    • ‘‘Good boy,’ he finally grunted when he was sure he could speak without stammering.’
    • ‘We are suddenly, when we stammer and pause, in a position to gauge the difference language makes, the revelation that if we cannot name something there is a real sense in which we do not have it.’
    • ‘Here I am, a distinguished public speaker, stuttering and stammering, at a complete loss for words.’
    • ‘He had a tendency to stammer when he was nervous, which he always seemed to be when he was summoned by Mordred.’
    • ‘He stammered, a tomato red blush creeping up his neck.’
    • ‘She'll start acting coy, and then suddenly blink, stammer, turn red, and hurry off quickly or, if we're in our room (this semester we have a free period at the same time), she buries her nose in a book.’
    • ‘Stuttering (or stammering, as it is often called in Britain) is probably the best known and most researched speech disorder, but perhaps the most difficult to define, to explain, and to treat, especially in adults.’
    • ‘Every thought and lesson flew right out of her head, leaving her stuttering and stammering over things even the younger grades already knew.’
    • ‘It took him a while to realize who she was and he immediately obeyed, stammering and stuttering with his words as he complied.’
    • ‘The rain turned from warm and pleasurable to cold and assaulting, and my teeth chattered, my words stammered, because of it.’
    • ‘The man stammered over his words for a moment before he finally managed to regain the power of speech.’
    • ‘It was a known secret that when Helen lied she had a tendency to stammer.’
    • ‘Every time he looked at her, he felt like a small boy, stammering over his words, or saying something absolutely inane.’
    • ‘And there I had been, stammering and stuttering until I found my voice, until I finally showed her that I had a little bit of something in me - words that could be angry, something other than timidity or shyness.’
    • ‘Carl observed that when Preston spoke these words he did not stammer once over the names themselves.’
    • ‘He stammered, he stuttered, he stopped to look over notes and he forgot what he was saying plenty of times.’
    • ‘Michael O'Shea, who is over the McGuire Programme's Waterford support group, said the programme provided help and support to people with this speech problem by teaching them a technique that enables them to speak without stammering.’
    stutter, speak haltingly, stumble over one's words, hesitate, falter, fumble for words, pause, halt, mumble, splutter
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    1. 1.1reporting verb Say something with difficulty, repeating the initial letters of words and with sudden involuntary pauses.
      with direct speech ‘‘I … I can't,’ Isabel stammered’
      with object ‘I stammered out my history’
      • ‘Roxanne accepted the gifts, stammering her thanks.’
      • ‘Mike hadn't said a word as he stammered a list of worries, concerns and fears - but he had listened.’
      • ‘She and I couldn't help stammering our gratitude to Jeffrey.’
      • ‘Crisp rose awkwardly, stammering a greeting and almost chewed off his tongue before falling silent and blushing, his pale features flushed, marred only by the slight bruising from where he had been struck by the man in the city.’
      • ‘I flashed my badge at him and he stammered an apology, saying he would take me as far as the edge of the town I needed to get to.’
      • ‘‘Yes we met at the Farquar ball a couple of months before,’ Bertie said shocked that he did not stammer one word in that sentence.’
      • ‘Suddenly sorry for lashing out, she stammered an apology.’
      • ‘Brae followed cautiously, and Chase stood behind him stammering his misgivings.’
      • ‘Gibil stepped back as he stammered his challenge.’
      • ‘Fearful, perplexed, he stammers incomprehensible excuses under the suspicious stare of the policeman, who does not believe that someone would refuse to accept that kind of change.’
      • ‘He clutched my upper sleeve tightly and writhed in his agony for a while before finally stammering a few words.’
      • ‘Both of us blushed deep colors and stammered apologies.’
      • ‘No strings, they'd assured me as I stammered my thanks.’
      • ‘Yasir was nervous, and started stammering his words.’
      • ‘Rogozhin proposes that they give each other the crosses they wear round their necks, and stammers a renunciation of Nastasia.’
      • ‘He stammers excuses, she is in the background yelling and he is calling her names.’
      • ‘When I started stammering something about plans I already had, Claire squashed all my hopes for getting out of it.’
      • ‘I stopped him before he got into a bus, stammered some words of praise for his honesty, and wished him well for the elections.’
      • ‘A few of us passed Harold, patted him on the back and stammered ill-fitting words of sympathy.’
      • ‘He stammered a few syllables and shifted his feet.’

noun

  • A tendency to stammer.

    ‘as a young man, he had a dreadful stammer’
    • ‘They highlighted the fact that many famous people with a stammer, including Winston Churchill and Marilyn Monroe, managed to overcome their speech defect.’
    • ‘Sitting towards the back of the hall was an inconspicuous, balding, bespectacled man with a slight stammer.’
    • ‘Karim, whose excellent English labours under a debilitating stammer, says: ‘My neighbours are very good people.’’
    • ‘Carter first learned to trade with his fists when he was a 10-year-old who suffered from a severe stammer and refused to be ridiculed.’
    • ‘My stammer would make me completely unable to say a sentence properly, but I didn't want this ever to get in the way of what I wanted to do.’
    • ‘He would often practise his speeches for many hours and had a slight stammer and lisp.’
    • ‘She sensed the stammer in my voice and hugged me tightly.’
    • ‘By the way - who, today, would hire a lecturer with a stammer?’
    • ‘‘H-hello,’ she stammered, slipping back briefly into a childhood stammer.’
    • ‘John's constant unsuccessful attempts to gain his father's attention and approval, coupled with being forced to write with his right hand, are the reasons he gives for his developing a stammer and his subsequent lack of self-esteem.’
    • ‘Birkin, a Londoner who has survived the Great War but is left with a stammer, a nervous twitch, and vivid nightmares, is given the summer job of uncovering a mediaeval wall-painting in the church of a small Yorkshire village.’
    • ‘We, a young couple, novices in bringing up children, had gifted a stammer to our eldest-born.’
    • ‘‘When I was in my teens, I had a terrible stammer,’ he says.’
    • ‘There might be a slight stammer but otherwise the speech will seem normal.’
    • ‘The young schoolgirl with the stammer in Switzerland has become a very poised public speaker in Pattaya.’
    • ‘It could be construed as a brave choice because - though you'd never know it from watching him in character - Dimsdale has a noticeable stammer, something that could be seen as a big drawback in a profession where the voice is paramount.’
    • ‘Hard to believe, but the effort in Bird's voice stems from a childhood stammer.’
    • ‘‘I didn't think there was much good fiction that takes you inside what it's like to have a stammer,’ he says.’
    • ‘Jas Duke was the artist who turned the infliction of a stammer into some of the greatest performance poetry ever.’
    • ‘The courses were held in the town for four days, and Gareth, pictured right, who conquered a severe stammer and recently became a speech therapist, gave his first lessons teaching some of the 100 students who attended the course.’
    stutter, speech impediment, speech defect
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Origin

Late Old English stamerian, of West Germanic origin; related to stumble. The noun dates from the late 18th century.

Pronunciation

stammer

/ˈstamə/