sputtering


Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

sput·ter

 (spŭt′ər)
v. sput·tered, sput·ter·ing, sput·ters
v.intr.
1. To spit out or spray particles of saliva or food from the mouth in noisy bursts.
2. To spit out words or sounds in an excited or confused manner.
3. To make sporadic spitting or popping sounds: The fire sputtered and died.
4. Physics To cause the atoms of a solid to be removed from the surface by bombardment with atoms in a discharge tube.
v.tr.
1. To eject in short bursts with spitting or popping sounds.
2. To utter in an excited or confused manner.
3. Physics To coat (a solid surface) with metal atoms by sputtering.
n.
1. The act or sound of sputtering.
2. Matter emitted in sputtering.
3. Excited or confused utterance.

[Probably of Low German origin; akin to Dutch sputteren.]

sput′ter·er n.
sput′ter·y adj.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.sputtering - the noise of something spattering or sputtering explosivelysputtering - the noise of something spattering or sputtering explosively; "he heard a spatter of gunfire"
noise - sound of any kind (especially unintelligible or dissonant sound); "he enjoyed the street noises"; "they heard indistinct noises of people talking"; "during the firework display that ended the gala the noise reached 98 decibels"
References in classic literature ?
By this time Ambrosch had come to his senses and was sputtering with nosebleed.
There being no answer to several repetitions of the summons, Ned began to grow impatient; and his little pot of passion quickly boiling over, he picked up a stone, with a naughty purpose to fling it through the window; at the same time blubbering and sputtering with wrath.
And now and then they stooped in a group and splashed water in each other's faces with their palms, gradually approach- ing each other, with averted faces to avoid the stran- gling sprays, and finally gripping and struggling till the best man ducked his neighbor, and then they all went under in a tangle of white legs and arms and came up blowing, sputtering, laughing, and gasping for breath at one and the same time.
I am not going to guess, at five o'clock in the morning, with my brains frying and sputtering in my head.
I smell the fog that hung about the place; I see the hoar frost, ghostly, through it; I feel my rimy hair fall clammy on my cheek; I look along the dim perspective of the schoolroom, with a sputtering candle here and there to light up the foggy morning, and the breath of the boys wreathing and smoking in the raw cold as they blow upon their fingers, and tap their feet upon the floor.
His hand shook, and the candle fell from its socket on the floor and lay there sputtering.
A tiny pump-rod wheezing and whining to itself beside a sputtering green lamp.
He rose sputtering, and went forward, only to catch another.
This blowing and sputtering indicated the especial importance of an occasion--the more important, the more vigorously he blew.
Water's not so bad," said George, reappearing from his plunge, and sputtering at the sun.
A circle of fire hemmed the Victoria in; the crackling of the dry wood mingled with the hissing and sputtering of the green branches; the clambering vines, the foliage, all the living part of this vegetation, writhed in the destructive element.
Then you will soon hear it sputtering away, mad to be made into tea.