v. spat·tered, spat·ter·ing, spat·ters
1. To scatter (a liquid, for example) in drops or small amounts: spattered the paint on the canvas.
2. To spot, splash, or soil with drops or small amounts: The passing car spattered my pants with mud.
3. To strike or land on in a dispersed way: Rain spattered the pavement.
1. To come forth in drops or small amounts: Hot grease spattered in all directions.
2. To fall in a shower or make contact in a dispersed way, as rain or bullets.
1. The act or an instance of spattering: a spatter of mud on his pants.
2. A spattering sound: awakened by the spatter of rain on the window.
a. A drop or splash of something spattered: spatters of paint on his shoes.
b. A small amount; a smattering: just a spatter of praise.
[Perhaps of Low German origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.