Definition of "sputter" [sput•ter]

  • To spit out or spray particles of saliva or food from the mouth in noisy bursts. (verb-intransitive)
  • To spit out words or sounds in an excited or confused manner. (verb-intransitive)
  • To make sporadic spitting or popping sounds: The fire sputtered and died. (verb-intransitive)
  • Physics To cause the atoms of a solid to be removed from the surface by bombardment with atoms in a discharge tube. (verb-intransitive)
  • To eject in short bursts with spitting or popping sounds. (verb-transitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "sputter" in a sentence
  • "Sputter deposition is an industrial process used since the 1970s to spray -- sputter, that is -- thin films onto various backings, like the metallic coating on potato chip bags, the reflective surface on DVDs, or the electronics on computer chips."
  • "We had some good drives, but then we'd get down to the red zone and kind of sputter out, '' Carr said."
  • "Knowing the poor Irish girl's weak side (her quick temper), Oscar had for some time taxed his ingenuity to torment her, for the sake of hearing her "sputter," as he termed it."