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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, London: Wyllyam Rastell,[1]
      What standest thou there all the day smatterynge
    • c. 1594, William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene 5,[2]
      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,[3]
      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, In the South Seas, New York: Scribner, 1896, Chapter 2, p. 9,[4]
      The languages of Polynesia are easy to smatter, though hard to speak with elegance.
  3. (transitive, figuratively) 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. superficial knowledge; a smattering