Definition of sputter in English:


Line breaks: sput|ter
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.
    More 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.
    More 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.


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  • 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.



More 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.

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