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[stuht-er] /ˈstʌt ər/
verb (used with or without object)
to speak in such a way that the rhythm is interrupted by repetitions, blocks or spasms, or prolongations of sounds or syllables, sometimes accompanied by contortions of the face and body.
distorted speech characterized principally by blocks or spasms interrupting the rhythm.
Origin of stutter
1520-30; earlier stut (Middle English stutten to stutter) + -er6; compare Dutch stotteren, Middle Low German stotern in same sense
Related forms
stutterer, noun
stutteringly, adverb
unstuttered, adjective
unstuttering, adjective
Can be confused
stammer, stutter (see synonym study at stammer)
1. See stammer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for stutter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The stutter of Overland's automatics mingled with the roar of Saunders's heavy Colts.

    Overland Red Henry Herbert Knibbs
  • A brusque question caused him to stutter to the point of suffocation.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • They asked him if he had seen another car like theirs, but he could only stutter.

    The Day of Wrath Louis Tracy
  • Have you ever heard a light-yellow, lean, sad, earnest Chinaman stutter in Pidgin-English?

    A Personal Record Joseph Conrad
  • Dick couldn't spell his own name—couldn't answer a question without a stutter.

    Averil Rosa Nouchette Carey
British Dictionary definitions for stutter


to speak (a word, phrase, etc) with recurring repetition of consonants, esp initial ones
to make (an abrupt sound) repeatedly: the gun stuttered
the act or habit of stuttering
a stuttering sound
Derived Forms
stutterer, noun
stuttering, noun, adjective
stutteringly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: related to Middle Low German stötern, Old High German stōzan to push against, Latin tundere to beat
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for stutter

1560s, frequentative form of stutt, from Middle English stutten "to stutter, stammer" (late 14c.), cognate with Middle Low German stoten "to knock, strike against, collide," from Proto-Germanic *staut- "push, thrust" (cf. Old English stotan, Old High German stozan, Gothic stautan "to push, thrust"), from PIE *(s)teu- (see steep (adj.)). The noun is attested from 1854.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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stutter in Medicine

stutter stut·ter (stŭt'ər)
A phonatory or articulatory disorder characterized by difficult enunciation of words with frequent halting and repetition of the initial consonant or syllable. v. stut·tered, stut·ter·ing, stut·ters
To utter with spasmodic repetition or prolongation of sounds.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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stutter in Science
A speech disorder characterized by spasmodic repetition of the initial consonant or syllable of words and frequent pauses or prolongation of sounds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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