Definition of sputter in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈspʌtə/


1 [no object] Make a series of soft explosive or spitting sounds: the engine sputtered and stopped
More example sentences
  • The engine sputtered and smoked and eventually stopped.
  • The walls danced with red ochre light as the flame sputtered and spat.
  • The enemy plane, its engine sputtering, lost altitude and turned back toward Pola.
1.1 [reporting verb] Speak in a series of incoherent bursts as a result of strong emotion: [with direct speech]: ‘But ... but ...’ she sputtered
More example sentences
  • I turned red and sputtered something incoherent.
  • Her mouth opened in indignation as she sputtered incoherent, half-formed words.
  • Yeah, for now, I'm angry enough that I can barely sputter, never mind speak or write coherently.
1.2 [with object] Emit with a spitting sound: the goose is in the oven, sputtering fat
More example sentences
  • The shower head began to spit and sputter out hot water.
1.3 [with adverbial] Proceed in a spasmodic and feeble way: strikes in the public services sputtered on
More example sentences
  • 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 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.
  • Defeated in Lombardy, the revolution sputtered on in Venice, Tuscany, Rome, and Sicily.
2 [with object] Physics Deposit (metal) on a surface by using fast ions to eject particles of it from a target.
Example sentences
  • We prepared the filters for SEM analysis by sputtering a thin gold film on them.
  • Thin layers of chromium and gold were sequentially sputtered on the substrates using the following procedure.
  • Motorola uses the same machinery to deposit the magnetic maternal as that used to sputter the magnetic oxide on to disk drive platters.
2.1Coat (a surface) with a spray of metal particles emitted from a target that is bombarded with fast ions.
Example sentences
  • 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.


A series of soft explosive or spitting sounds: the sputter of the motor died away
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Now I could hear the sputter of machine gun fire; the booms and screeches of torpedoes.
  • Inside the building, Paul Meyer and his two young colleagues listened to the sputters of a cheap diesel generator.



Example sentences
  • In addition, there are a range of metal evaporators, sputterers and reactive ion etching equipment.
  • This sputterer has RF and DC sources which allow it sputter metallic and dielectric materials.


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

Words that rhyme with sputter

abutter, aflutter, butter, Calcutta, clutter, constructor, cutter, declutter, flutter, gutter, mutter, nutter, scutter, shutter, splutter, strutter, stutter, utter

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sput|ter

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