Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search



Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English spitu, from Proto-Germanic *spituz.


spit (plural spits)

  1. A rod on which meat is grilled (UK English) or broiled (US English).
  2. A narrow, pointed, usually sandy peninsula.
  3. The depth to which a spade goes in digging; a spade; a spadeful.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Halliwell to this entry?)


spit (third-person singular simple present spits, present participle spitting, simple past and past participle spitted)

  1. To impale on a spit.
    to spit a loin of veal
    • Shakespeare
      infants spitted upon pikes
  2. To attend to a spit; to use a spit.
    She's spitting in the kitchen.
  3. To spade; to dig.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English spittan, from Proto-Germanic (compare Danish spytte, Swedish spotta), from Proto-Indo-European *sp(y)ēw, *spyū [1], of imitiative origin (see spew)[2]


spit (third-person singular simple present spits, present participle spitting, simple past and past participle spat or (US) spit)

  1. (intransitive, transitive) To evacuate (saliva or another substance) from the mouth.
    Don't spit on the street.
    The teacher told her to spit out her bubble gum.
    • 1994, Stephen Fry, The Hippopotamus Chapter 2
      At the very moment he cried out, David realised that what he had run into was only the Christmas tree. Disgusted with himself at such cowardice, he spat a needle from his mouth, stepped back from the tree and listened. There were no sounds of any movement upstairs: no shouts, no sleepy grumbles, only a gentle tinkle from the decorations as the tree had recovered from the collision.
  2. To rain or snow slightly, or with sprinkles.
    • Charles Dickens
      It had been spitting with rain.
  3. (transitive) To utter violently.
  4. (transitive, slang, hip-hop) To utter.
    • 2005, Giselle Zado Wasfie, So Fly
      A group of black guys were spitting rhymes in the corner, slapping hands and egging one another on.
Usage notes[edit]
  • Spit as the past form is common only in the US, while spat is common everywhere.
Derived terms[edit]


spit (countable and uncountable, plural spits)

  1. (uncountable) Saliva, especially when expectorated.
    There was spit all over the washbasin.
  2. (countable) An instance of spitting.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.



  1. ^ Ayto, John, Dictionary of Word Origins, Arcade Publishing, New York, 1990
  2. ^ spew, Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper