noun, plural sputa [spyoo-tuh] .
matter, as saliva mixed with mucus or pus, expectorated from the lungs and respiratory passages.

1685–95; < Latin spūtum, noun use of neuter of spūtus, past participle of spuere to spit, equivalent to spū- variant stem + -tus past participle suffix

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World English Dictionary
sputum (ˈspjuːtəm)
n , pl -ta
1.  a mass of salivary matter ejected from the mouth
2.  saliva ejected from the mouth mixed with mucus or pus exuded from the respiratory passages, as in bronchitis or bronchiectasis
[C17: from Latin: spittle, from spuere to spit out]

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Word Origin & History

1693, from L. sputum, noun use of neuter pp. of spuere "to spit" (see spew).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

sputum spu·tum (spyōō'təm)
n. pl. spu·ta (-tə)
Matter coughed up and usually expelled from the mouth, especially mucus or mucopurulent matter expectorated in diseases of the air passages.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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