Definition of stutter in English:



  • 1 Talk with continued involuntary repetition of sounds, especially initial consonants.

    ‘the child was stuttering in fright’
    • ‘I stuttered and stumbled my way through the sentence - he had caught me off guard, I was just trying to focus on getting away from him.’
    • ‘My voice was so hesitant it sounded like I was stuttering.’
    • ‘Kayelle continued, stuttering, trying to catch her breath, ‘I didn't know. didn't know what. what.’’
    • ‘When I began stuttering, he continued, ‘Now that should teach you not to spread lies about how I'm incapable of sleeping in my boxers.’’
    • ‘While Richard Pryor is a funny guy - stuttering and stammering are his best qualities - the script doesn't include enough laughs to warrant its 102 minute running time.’
    • ‘Geb and Sahib stuttered in fright and pointed behind her.’
    • ‘Give me some time to stammer, stutter and stumble my way through this.’
    stammer, stumble, speak haltingly, falter, speak falteringly, flounder, hesitate, pause, halt
    blunder, splutter
    fluff one's lines
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    1. 1.1[with object]Utter with involuntary repetition of sounds.
      ‘he shyly stuttered out an invitation to the movies’
      [with direct speech] ‘“W-what's happened?” she stuttered’
      • ‘‘I - I, I,’ I stuttered out pathetically, being miraculously cut off by a doctor who just exited the emergency room.’
      • ‘she stuttered a bit, ‘please say yes’ Willie said.’
      • ‘‘I, I… I’ I stuttered out as Kage's arm pressed harder against my windpipe.’
      • ‘Swallowing hard, trying to remove the lump that casually formed in my dry throat, I stuttered out, ‘Err… hi Seth, how's it going?’’
      • ‘All that matters is that's the only thing that can explain any of this,’ she stuttered out.’
      • ‘My lips parted in my confusion, and I stuttered a bit, embarrassingly, in my need to comprehend exactly what it was he was saying, ‘W-what?’’
      • ‘I stuttered an ineffective argument as my old pals shame and embarrassment rose to the fore - thus the vicious circle was complete.’
      • ‘‘This… this… girl ’, stuttered the older guy, ‘Is being totally out of line’.’
      • ‘‘It was… Greg,’ Shane stuttered out as a tear slipped down his cheek.’
      • ‘In a cracked voice, he stuttered the words, ‘I'm sorry.’’
      • ‘‘N-no,’ Stasia stuttered out, before fixing him with a glare.’
      • ‘Barnabas stutters a bit, and Harrison sees the doll in his hand.’
      • ‘It was obvious he was lying, but he stuttered out, ‘, uh, haven't seen her since we broke up.’’
      • ‘‘I think you've got the wrong people,’ Hisei stuttered out nervously, unable to believe she was talking back to these things.’
      • ‘I stuttered a hello back and then glanced down to see if I was wearing a nametag.’
      • ‘When he finally caught his breath, he stuttered out, ‘Hahaha!’’
      • ‘‘Fight,’ he stuttered out and gazed into her dark eyes.’
      • ‘She stutters a few words but soon gets whisked away by some big-shouldered, thunder-browed lawyers.’
      • ‘He stuttered a bit before looking up to me for help.’
      • ‘Stunned, Sara stuttered a few times before saying, ‘What are you doing here?’’
    2. 1.2(of a machine or gun) produce a series of short, sharp sounds.
      ‘she flinched as a machine gun stuttered nearby’
      • ‘The moment the Dura's twin engines stuttered and vibrated into life in a cacophony of backfiring and oily blue smoke, Kara's resolve suddenly deserted her.’
      • ‘Particularly annoying among the record's contrivances is its frivolous use of drum machines, which skip and stutter when the songs call for simple beats.’
      • ‘The cabbie walked back to his cab, which stood, engine still stuttering, like a big black hesitation.’
      • ‘Picked-up engine that's been stuttering and stalling’
      • ‘Computer screens glow, fax machines stutter out reams of paper and the filing cabinets which line every wall bulge with thousands of documents.’


  • 1A tendency to stutter while speaking.

    • ‘The last time I saw Ralph Ineson he made me shuffle around Tesco supermarket pretending to be an old man with a stutter.’
    • ‘But I shouldn't judge the guy solely on the basis of his stutter and seemingly poor social skills.’
    • ‘Hines had befriended the girl after she joined the Lollypop Children's Theatre in order to overcome a stutter.’
    • ‘The Health Service speech and audiology manager, Rose Taylor, said some people's perceptions of the world of speech pathology were confined to lisps and stutters.’
    • ‘She asked several times and I tried to speak but again, it was a struggle and mostly a stutter.’
    • ‘She made a sound, a stutter, but couldn't form or think of any words to say.’
    • ‘The Bradford star, who has struggled to overcome his own stutter, is about to sit final speech exams which will qualify him to help others who are verbally challenged.’
    • ‘Police are said to be were ‘very concerned’ as they searched for Ryan, who suffers with a stutter and is small for his age.’
    • ‘He may have spoken with a slight Liverpool accent and a slight stutter and was carrying a cream Reebok bag and a plastic bag.’
    • ‘What a nightmare: being afflicted with a stutter, and having to give an acceptance speech in front of the largest global live audience that a civilian can get.’
    • ‘To compensate for a lifelong stutter, Walton also overpronounces words, which gives his speech an arrogant twist.’
    • ‘When you have a stutter, your own language is hard enough, let alone trying something new.’
    • ‘Mendelssohn also suffered two physical constraints, a hammerlock stutter and a severe curvature of the spine that gave him a hump.’
    • ‘Their laughter was louder than the pastor's stutters.’
    • ‘The McGuire programme, which helped him, also enabled Pop Idol Gareth Gates to overcome his stutter and go on to chart success.’
    • ‘He knew he was ready, knew it was real, knew it was her, and the words came without a stutter or a stammer.’
    • ‘Aidan squeaked, with an added stutter because he was suddenly nervous.’
    • ‘Well mannered and quiet, with a stutter in his speaking voice - but not his singing one - Thompson nonetheless has an air of defiance about him.’
    • ‘In almost every case, it's the smile, or the stutter, that decides it all.’
    • ‘He had a stutter and she helped him, and gave him confidence.’
    stammer, speech impediment, speech defect
    hesitancy, faltering
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    1. 1.1A series of short, sharp sounds produced by a machine or gun.
      • ‘Unpleasant like the faint nausea of the initial stutter and sharp turns of a car journey.’
      • ‘If you go forward it goes forward, if you go back and forth, the image and sound stutters in the DJ style.’
      • ‘With seven tracks clocking in at over an hour, expect some nice, long, drawn-out sound sketches, each slowly building to a sweeping chorus of digital clicks and stutters.’
      • ‘Yet the data clearly suggest that the job machine may have developed a long-term stutter for other reasons.’
      • ‘The video image is sharp, though there is an occasional image stutter on hard cuts.’
      • ‘Asking it to keep track of six or seven other players and send out constant messages and update your screen 30 times a second with fabulous 3D graphics is enough to make almost any machine stutter.’
      • ‘When I concentrated, I could hear the explosions in the distance, supplemented every once in a while by the stutter of a machinegun or the crack of a rifle.’
      • ‘The title track and ‘Palermo’ present electronic soundscapes full of blips and stutters, the silver sound of spoons and a humming that could be the sound of muted, slightly exhausted wisdom.’


Late 16th century (as a verb): frequentative of dialect stut, of Germanic origin; related to German stossen strike against.