smattering

[smat-er-ing]

Origin:
1530–40; smatter + -ing1, -ing2

smatteringly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged

smatter

[smat-er]
verb (used with object)
1.
to speak (a language, words, etc.) with superficial knowledge or understanding.
2.
to dabble in.
noun
3.
slight or superficial knowledge; smattering.

Origin:
1300–50; Middle English; perhaps < Scandinavian; compare Danish, Norwegian smadre to splash, swash, Swedish smattra to clatter, rattle; compare Middle Low German smetern to chatter

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
smatter (ˈsmætə)
 
n
1.  a smattering
 
vb
2.  rare (intr) to prattle
3.  archaic (tr) to dabble in
 
[C14 (in the sense: to prattle): of uncertain origin; compare Middle High German smetern to gossip]
 
'smatterer
 
n

smattering (ˈsmætərɪŋ)
 
n
1.  a slight or superficial knowledge
2.  a small amount
 
'smatteringly
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

smatter
c.1410, "talk idly, chatter," perhaps imitative. Similar forms are found in M.H.G. smetern "to chatter" and Swed. smattra "to patter, rattle." Smatterer "one who has superficial knowledge" is attested from c.1519.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
To the untrained eye, they're not much to look at--a smattering of tiny
  squiggles decorating slabs of sandstone.
It's amazing how a smattering of solar homes can prevent enormous blackouts.
But, as many critics have noted, the film also contains a smattering of more
  specific cinematic references.
Cosmic rays are mostly protons plus a smattering of alpha particles and other
  atomic nuclei.
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