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

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To sputum
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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1693, from L. sputum, noun use of neuter pp. of spuere "to spit" (see spew).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
They investigate possible food sources in garbage piles, septic tanks, and
These may be used if there are signs of infection, such as fever or yellow or
  green sputum.
Sputum samples may be taken to check for signs of inflammation or bacterial
Cough medicines may make it harder for your body to cough up the extra sputum.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature