Definition of expectorate in English:


Line breaks: ex|pec¦tor|ate
Pronunciation: /ɪkˈspɛktəreɪt
, ɛk-/


[with object]
  • Cough or spit out (phlegm) from the throat or lungs: she was expectorating dirty coloured sputum [no object]: a sign asks visitors not to expectorate in the sinks
    More example sentences
    • The actor is the only one of that illustrious quartet who openly uses a spittoon, clears his throat and expectorates into the receptacle below his desk.
    • As anyone whose had a general anaesthetic will know, you have to cough and expectorate hard pretty much as soon as you come round to clear the anaesthetic out of your lungs.
    • My wife and I attended a Prom the other night and were treated to an invigorating and enthusiastic display of sneezing, coughing and expectorating.



Pronunciation: /-ˈreɪʃ(ə)n/
More example sentences
  • The juice relieves an irritable cough with its soothing action, liquefying the phlegm and mucus in the clogged channels and facilitating expectoration.
  • It was precision expectoration that accurately landed a deposit of froth about two feet from my Oxford brogues.
  • Pretending not to hear me, he gave a chest-heaving hawk in preparation for his next expectoration.


early 17th century (in the sense 'enable sputum to be coughed up', referring to medicine): from Latin expectorat- 'expelled from the chest', from the verb expectorare, from ex- 'out' + pectus, pector- 'breast'.

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