From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: s'matter



From Middle English smatteren, smateren. Compare Swedish smattra, Danish and Norwegian smadre (all of which mean to patter), German schmettern (to resound).



smatter (third-person singular simple present smatters, present participle smattering, simple past and past participle smattered)

  1. (intransitive) To talk superficially; to babble, chatter.
    • 1533, John Heywood, A Mery Play Betwene the Pardoner and the Frere[1], London: Wyllyam Rastell:
      What standest thou there all the day smatterynge
    • c. 1591–1595 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene v]:
      And why, my lady wisdom? hold your tongue,
      Good prudence; smatter with your gossips, go.
    • 1733, Jonathan Swift “On Poetry” in The Poetical Works of Jonathan Swift, London: William Pickering, 1833, Volume 2, pp. 63-64,[2]
      For poets, law makes no provision;
      The wealthy have you in derision:
      Of state affairs you cannot smatter;
      Are awkward when you try to flatter;
  2. (transitive) To speak (a language) with spotty or superficial knowledge.
    • 1891, Robert Louis Stevenson, chapter 2, in In the South Seas[3], New York: Scribner, published 1896, page 9:
      The languages of Polynesia are easy to smatter, though hard to speak with elegance.
  3. (transitive, figurative) To study or approach superficially; to dabble in.
  4. To have a slight taste, or a slight, superficial knowledge, of anything; to smack.

Derived terms[edit]



smatter (plural smatters)

  1. A smattering (small number or amount).
    a smatter of applause
  2. A smattering (superficial knowledge).




smatter n

  1. short, sharp, quickly repeating noises, like large raindrops against a window or someone typing quickly on a typewriter, spatter


Declension of smatter 
Indefinite Definite
Nominative smatter smattret
Genitive smatters smattrets

Related terms[edit]