Main meanings of spit in English

: spit1spit2spit3


Pronunciation /spɪt/

Translate spit into Spanish

verbspits, spitting, spat, spit

[no object]
  • 1Eject saliva forcibly from one's mouth, sometimes as a gesture of contempt or anger.

    ‘Todd spat in Hugh's face’
    • ‘As reported in the Manchester Evening News, more than 1,600 station workers now have access to swabbing kits, which they can use to store saliva if a customer spits at them before sending it off for analysis.’
    • ‘In April 2002, he was jailed for six weeks for contempt of court for spitting at a police liaison officer in court.’
    • ‘He also received a further six weeks for contempt after spitting at a court official.’
    • ‘Don't spit out the saliva because this is a waste, and it will also disturb your concentration.’
    • ‘He hated his urge to spit out saliva when he was peeing and feared he would retain the disgusting habit.’
    • ‘I spat back, gesturing to her tacky blonde highlights.’
    • ‘The girl glowered up at Kiannon as if he were the Un-Goddess herself - drew back her head in a sharp, dismissive gesture, and spat at him.’
    • ‘Alora almost spat, the contempt for her foster mother painfully obvious.’
    • ‘They'd take an inmate with tuberculosis, who was coughing blood, and force him to spit into the mouths of others.’
    • ‘And when that didn't have the effect she wanted, she spat into his mouth.’
    • ‘She contemplated spitting back on him, till his partner slapped her hard across the cheek.’
    • ‘True, and it's not likely someone is going to come up and spit in your mouth.’
    • ‘All around her men and elves fell in bloody heaps, Krast spitting contemptuously on their broken bodies.’
    • ‘He wiped his mouth before spitting into his hand.’
    • ‘She spit to rid her mouth of the substance, but more was instantly forced in.’
    • ‘A bitter taste rose in Henderson's mouth, and he spat into the cluster of violet tulips alongside the porch.’
    • ‘The man wiped his mouth, spat, and then sat up, uncertain whether to glare or to quiver.’
    • ‘The people saying that are not worth the saliva I would expend to spit on them.’
    • ‘I have over-active saliva glands myself but this never causes me to spit in the street.’
    expectorate, hawk
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Forcibly eject (food or liquid) from one's mouth.
      ‘the baby spat out its porridge’
      • ‘I am afraid to say that this revelation caused a certain amount of food to be spat out, and scenes of a boisterous nature which cannot be tolerated in polite society.’
      • ‘I looked away from my reflection in the mirror, found a Kleenex, and spat the food in my mouth out.’
      • ‘At occasional intervals the faces appear to spit water from their mouths, in a reference to more classical fountain designs.’
      • ‘She rinsed her mouth, then spat the water onto the ground.’
      • ‘As soon as he left our table, we spit the food out, wiping the corners of our mouth with the dainty white napkin.’
      • ‘He said nothing, yet his gaze narrowed as he spat water from his mouth.’
      • ‘She rushed over to the trashcan and spat the food out, blinking in shock.’
      • ‘I propped myself up best I could, struggling, and spat a warm liquid out onto the grass.’
      • ‘He spat the offending liquid into the dust, and passed the water bottle back to her.’
      • ‘I then got shouted at by one of the dinner ladies (only you can't call them that now) for spitting my food out onto the plate.’
      • ‘My eyes squinted up in pain and I briefly entertained the idea of spitting the food out and screaming loudly.’
      • ‘Thankfully before we put the plan into action the baby spit the food out all over the table and tried to wipe the taste off her tongue.’
      • ‘Walking back across the road I spat a mouthful of water onto the windscreen of Howard's commonwealth car.’
      • ‘Even when someone is eating in a movie they're probably spitting the food out between takes.’
      • ‘Once again, I followed their example, but I spit the fizzing liquid back into the jar.’
      • ‘When a bone is encountered in the food, the bone is spat out, discreetly, onto the table.’
      • ‘As he spat a mouthful of orange goop on the floor, he heard Jeremy laughing at him.’
      • ‘She glared at him, then spat the mouthful of half-chewed cookie into the napkin.’
      • ‘I got really drunk as you can imagine and started to spit water at people working behind the bar.’
      • ‘That finish was a thankfully short-lived experience that reminded us of the taste you get left in your mouth after spitting out that pink drink at the dentist.’
    2. 1.2with object Utter in a hostile or aggressive way.
      ‘she spat abuse at the jury’
      • ‘‘Go to hell!’ she spat’
      • ‘It was the same fight as it had been nearly fifteen hundred years before, only they were less hostile and weren't spitting their words out carelessly.’
      • ‘She said: ‘We have been getting abuse and been spat at and shouted at for a year.’’
      • ‘The attacker spat racial abuse at the victim as he carried out the terrifying assault at Monkton Road Stores, in Monkton Road, off Byland Avenue.’
      • ‘‘Not for the guys who are too stupid to see the littlest signs and gestures,’ she spat.’
      • ‘‘Get your filthy hands off of me,’ she spits at Tristan contemptuously.’
      • ‘‘Tell the Twins to keep their hands away from my mouth,’ Tyger spits, his voice sounding more and more mechanical with each word.’
      • ‘I also admire the fact that he always sounds genuinely angry, spitting out his barbs with a Vesuvian intensity.’
      • ‘He continued in this angry state, spitting out word after hated word.’
      • ‘I imagined red hot lava filling her body, expanding until she exploded, but that was just so I could take my mind away from the twisted lips spitting out frustrated words through gritted teeth.’
      • ‘‘You don't even have a reason to be angry,’ she spat hatefully, her voice beginning to grow loud.’
      • ‘‘You speak of wholesale murder,’ the Princess spat back with fire in her eyes.’
      snap, say angrily, hiss, rasp, splutter
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Be extremely angry or frustrated.
      ‘he was spitting with sudden fury’
      • ‘She spat back, much angrier than she appeared to be.’
      • ‘Hissing and spitting like an angry cat, Arach tried to free herself, but the man was strong.’
    4. 1.4informal Perform rap music.
      • ‘What more can you say about a gangsta rap superstar who spits, deadpan: ‘Hokey pokey dopey lokey okey dokey’?’
      • ‘The stand out track of the album ‘It's On ’, features Vakill spitting enough lyrical ammunition to sink any passing battle-cat.’
      • ‘‘At the end of the day, everything we spit on the album is the real deal,’ Kwajo interjects.’
      • ‘People out there are trying to spit like Dizzee in English now!’
      • ‘Mate, at the speed you spit, you have a language all unto yourself!’
      • ‘She spits an aggressive style of rap that showcases both her powerful stage presence and her tight lyrical flow.’
    5. 1.5(of a cat) make a hissing noise as a sign of anger or hostility.
      ‘the cat arched his back and spat at her’
      • ‘As soon as I was done, the cat started hissing and spitting and arched its back.’
      • ‘He's charging the door of his box, growling, spitting, and hissing.’
      • ‘It spat and hissed, coiling about on the ground in a demented and tortured agony.’
      • ‘If he were a cat, he'd be hissing and spitting by now, hair on end.’
      • ‘The Rentaio was hissing and spitting, trying to tear the collar off himself and scratching his throat, drawing thin lines of blood.’
      • ‘He raised an eyebrow as Strata leaped on him, hissing and spitting in fear.’
      • ‘Clarice shrieked as a small crimson blur streaked towards her, hissing and spitting.’
      • ‘Before she could do a thing, Balac had sped in front of her, hissing and spitting at the Dragon.’
      • ‘She hissed, spat and arched her back, and the hyenas kept their distance, though they did manage to grab the stork.’
      • ‘When it hissed and spat at Arvan, Shanae could make out the rows of viciously sharp teeth and foul black tongue.’
      • ‘Kimiwari continued to hiss and spit until Naomi could no longer hold onto her.’
      • ‘They hiss and spit at Realtor Lion but he drives them out of the tent with the tree branch.’
      • ‘Instead of purring and snuggling up to us, he was aggressive, hissing and spitting in spite of our best efforts to help him.’
      • ‘After a few more seconds of spitting and hissing, Fluffy ran from Katie's sight.’
  • 2(of a fire or something being cooked) emit small bursts of sparks or hot fat with a series of short, explosive noises.

    ‘the bonfire crackled and spat’
    • ‘Ilea ruled the south icy realm, Aural the seas of the north, Inferna the parched lands of the west where fire spits from mountains, and Terrestra the forests of the East.’
    • ‘A fire already spit in the fireplace as Alecaen took a seat on the plush blood red couch.’
    • ‘It was stone cold within, but there was a pile of cut wood in one corner and soon he had a fire spitting and crackling, dancing weird patterns of red and yellow about the cabin.’
    • ‘A night bird screeched in the distance and the fire crackled and spat, and shoes crushed tiny rocks on the ground.’
    • ‘She got up and went over to the fire crackling and spitting nearby.’
    • ‘She opened her eyes and saw a blazing fire crackling and spitting at the men sitting around it.’
    • ‘The fire sputtered and spat as it was pelted by the rain, but our food was hot and I had poured the morning's broth into the jugs already.’
    • ‘The dwarf spun in several circles with his stick spinning him in front before the stick flew out of his hands and onto the nearby grass, making it crackle and spit.’
    • ‘The only sound for several seconds was the sound of the fire, spitting and crackling sparks.’
    • ‘Trying that approach on Monday morning resulted in pretty blue, orange and white sparks and threatening hissing and spitting noises.’
    • ‘For example, and also in England, Girl Guides are being sued by a teenager who was hit by spitting fat while cooking sausages around the campfire.’
    • ‘Two of them were real spitfires and were still hissing and spitting madly.’
    • ‘The blaze did nothing but feed on the building, hissing and spitting on wood and brick.’
    • ‘There isn't much liquid in the masala sauce, even so, use quite a large pan, this stuff spits and splatters all over the place.’
    sizzle, hiss, crackle, sputter, frizzle, fizz
    View synonyms
  • 3it spits, it is spitting, etc.British Light rain falls.

    ‘it began to spit’
    • ‘With 15 minutes to go before the start and the cars formed up on the grid, it is spitting with rain every now and again.’
    • ‘The rain began to spit down across the windscreen.’
    • ‘This afternoon, many people in the office turned to look at the darkening grey skies and the rain spitting on the windows.’
    • ‘The rain was still spitting down, though not heavy enough to make people stop their activities.’
    • ‘I was tired, there were good programmes on television and the rain was starting to spit down from above.’
    • ‘The sun came out later in the day, but by the time it started to spit with rain I decided to cut my losses and head to the station.’
    • ‘Everything was going fine, when about half an hour into the race it started to spit with rain.’
    • ‘By now it was spitting with rain but as we looked out across the water at some rusting ships and a rather dilapidated sea defence the spots soon turned to heavy drops and it quickly began to pour.’
    • ‘It is spitting with rain as the fans trickle into Headingley.’
    • ‘As it was spitting with rain that morning, I'd worn my Harrington jacket, but had taken the button badges off.’
    • ‘With rain starting to spit as well, the team were looking on confidently as the black Lego Star Wars Honda pulled away into a comfortable lead.’
    • ‘It was a cold October night and the wind was howling and it had started to spit with rain.’
    • ‘Night had fallen sullenly over the storm ravaged waters of the Gulf of Mexico, with heavy drops of rain spitting down from the wet, grey, overcast sky.’
    • ‘The rain finally came, spitting down, and she unzipped the section at the back of her jacket that revealed a hood, which she pulled over her head and tied under her chin.’
    • ‘Hinderwell huddled against the spitting rain and chilly wind.’
    • ‘The wind was cold and the air damp with spitting rain but Michael didn't care.’
    • ‘I don't know why: the sky is spitting rain at me again.’
    • ‘It was raining, probably only spitting at that time.’
    • ‘Still a little bit gusty, a little bit of spitting rain on and off.’
    • ‘It is still spitting rain today and the grass turns greener even I watch it.’
    rain lightly, drizzle, spot
    View synonyms


  • 1mass noun Saliva, typically that which has been ejected from a person's mouth.

    ‘I brought up all this phlegm and spit into my mouth, and at first it was so, so foul I nearly choked.’
    • ‘Old Bruce is not happy to be reminded that he was once a porky loser who talks as if his mouth is full of spit and looks like a living donut.’
    • ‘I spit on the ground to get the tastes of acid and hate out of my mouth and my spit burned a hole in the sidewalk.’
    • ‘To read Proulx aloud your mouth needs plenty of spit in it.’
    • ‘After little painful moments of gasping and dry retching, she rises up on unsteady legs, wiping spit from her mouth with the back of her hand.’
    • ‘The mystery woman screamed, traces of spit flying from her mouth.’
    • ‘I was left with legs like jelly, and a total lack of spit in my mouth.’
    • ‘Oskar summoned up all of his saliva and spit into the hand full of powder.’
    • ‘He hocked up a wad of saliva and spit at Lue's feet.’
    • ‘The horse's flanks were soaked, its face was white with lather where the bridle rubbed, and foamy spit flew from its mouth as it tossed its head.’
    • ‘The turtle opened its mouth and spurted hot spit in Gardens' face.’
    • ‘He could almost see the man's spit flying from his mouth as he hissed angrily into the phone.’
    • ‘We got to M's house and I ran to the loo where I held my hand over my mouth and allowed the blood and spit and goo to run through my hands, while I caught my teeth.’
    • ‘I shoved his face away after a minute, wiping spit off my mouth.’
    • ‘Justin, her boyfriend, screamed at her, red in the face, droplets of spit flying from his mouth.’
    • ‘Some of them sit with their heads between their legs slowly expectorating a long dribble of spit until there is a pool of spittle on the ground.’
    • ‘They magnanimously bestow on our green spaces abundant spit, phlegm, nasal mucus, litter and noxious garbage of all kinds.’
    • ‘The first time I hang out with this girl she's having shots of soy sauce to stimulate her salivary glands so her cheeks swell and spit shoots out of her mouth.’
    • ‘Men do not actually drool more, but their spit becomes super-charged with testosterone.’
    • ‘We learn early on, for example, that the virus is spread by blood and spit.’
    spittle, saliva, sputum, slaver, slobber, dribble, drool
    View synonyms
  • 2An act of spitting.


    be the spit of
    • Look exactly like.

      • ‘Felix is the spit of Rosa's brother’
      • ‘As for Kieran, he wears his success lightly and is, Jackson says, a quiet, relaxed character who is the spit of his brother.’
      • ‘The youngest sibling Claire (played by Lauren Ambrose, the spit of Thora Birch in American Beauty) gets the call just after she's tried smoking crystal meth for the first time.’
      • ‘In reality shows such as MTV's Extreme Makeovers some tragic dork from Dullsville, USA decides he wants to be remodelled to be the spit of Brad Pitt, and if it means smashing up his jaw and nose, so be it.’
      • ‘Have you heard about the Glasgow woman that's the spit of The Queen?’
      • ‘And there was this guy there who was the spit of CD.’
      • ‘In his hectoring manner and contemptuous demands for apologies and resignations, Campbell is the spit of John Humphrys.’
      • ‘Pixie maintains that my step-dad is the spit of Richard Schiff.’
      • ‘The boys are all in stripy dungarees and they are the spit of each other - with a mop of white blond hair, full cheeks and big blue eyes.’
      • ‘Despite looking the spit of Robert Carlyle, McCardie is faultless, while Roeves, as a man living on borrowed time, is completely believable.’
      • ‘Apart from my eyes, I'm the dead spit of my mother.’
    British informal
    • Used to describe an old-fashioned or simple pub or bar, of a type whose floor was originally covered with sawdust.

      • ‘The Grapes is an old-fashioned big northern pub, almost spit-and-sawdust, the type that still closes between lunchtime and the early evening.’
      • ‘Essentially, The Irish (an unapologetically back-to-basics, spit-and-sawdust kind of joint) is the very embodiment of unchanging timelessness in a world of ever-shifting certainties.’
      • ‘The law is about to be changed again to allow further modernisation of shops, and it is time for the few remaining spit-and-sawdust shops to go, and genuine standards of punter comfort to be imposed on all.’
      • ‘For location scenes, fashionable bars such as the Leith Oyster Bar and the area's host of restaurants will be the backdrop rather than spit-and-sawdust bars.’
      • ‘At any rate, the two of us ended up at the Black Cap, one of North London's more spit-and-sawdust dens of iniquity.’
      • ‘Like a butterfly from a chrysalis, an old spit-and-sawdust pub has metamorphosed into a smart hotel with bar and restaurant.’
      • ‘‘It's very spit-and-sawdust here,’ said gym owner Billy Murray.’
    spit it out
    • Used to urge someone to say or confess something quickly.

      • ‘spit it out, man, I haven't got all day’
      • ‘Jonathan loathed the sound of that man's name, he hated to speak it, he spit it out quickly and swigged his coke to remove the taste.’
      • ‘He took it out of Kuwait in 1991, and we made him spit it out.’
      • ‘People may not like it, but I just spit it out and say it like it is.’
      • ‘As Mitchell describes it, this is a book about a boy who doesn't know what he knows - who has the entire world inside of him but cannot spit it out.’
      • ‘I would have liked to tell him to spit it out but I held my tongue; I wasn't about to force him to reveal anything he wasn't comfortable revealing.’
      • ‘‘I guess I'll just spit it out,’ the man began again, still not telling us anything.’
      • ‘It's like they want to say something but they can't spit it out.’
      • ‘It was a thought that had been on my mind, and I didn't know how to bring it up, but it seemed like there was never the right time to ask, so I had to just spit it out.’
      • ‘She was obviously stalling, but I mean, couldn't she just spit it out?’
      • ‘Ugh, why couldn't she have spit it out before falling unconscious?’
      • ‘After a minute I happily spit it out, but Lauren wasn't done with me.’
      • ‘‘Then spit it out already,’ Holiday told her, now pushing back her cuticles.’
      • ‘He tried to spit it out, but his mouth was dry and he could not.’
    spit in the wind
    • Do something futile or pointless.

      ‘they don't have a snowball's chance of winning the nomination—they're just spitting in the wind’
      • ‘You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit in the wind, you don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and you don't mess around with Fairfax.’
      • ‘One hopes that Hawaii's new system will not be in existence that long, but don't be surprised if legislators continue to ignore the free market and spit into the wind.’
    spit in the face of
    • Show contempt or scorn for.

      ‘the company spat in the face of its best customers’
      • ‘In taking that approach, he completely cancels any nobility or purity of his sacrifice and spits in the face of what most religions hold dear: the sanctity of life.’
      • ‘That the band was brought down by a drunk driver fuels the irony and spits in the face of what Compromise stood for.’
      • ‘You will experience a sense of liberation for the rest of your working life and be able to spit in the eye of just about anyone who crosses you - a great and abiding pleasure.’
      • ‘The youth movements spat in the face of all that: punk in a stand-up-and-offend-people way, new romanticism in a curious way, rave culture in an en masse party animal way.’
      • ‘It's about wrecking yourself on that huge air and getting up and laughing, and then spitting in the eye of the giant frowning face that is conformity.’
      • ‘Admittedly they are only fictions, but in every film about brave newspapers and fearless journalists, there is inevitably a scene of truth's crusaders spitting in the eye of the very advertisers who pay their salaries.’
      • ‘A culture that spits in the eye of the God who gives us freedom and dignity will find itself unable to resist tyranny.’
      • ‘I don't root for them because I'm a dark, soulless being or because I have some undying need to spit in the face of Red Sox fans.’
      • ‘I mean, I think that was almost an attempt to spit in the face of anybody who feels that such things shouldn't be there.’
      • ‘I need to remember these things because to forget would be to spit in the face of every single person who died that day.’
      • ‘It appears that there are lots of other beers in the world and if a brewer chooses to spit in the eye of millions of Irish and German Catholics, they can find those other beers and drink them instead.’
      • ‘Unaware of their limited rights as employees at will, they apparently thought they could spit in the eye of a behemoth and escape untouched.’
      • ‘Did I now intend to just go and spit in the eye of that legacy?’
      • ‘And, above all, there is the funny, articulate defiance of Rotten, who, having been poor, sickly and Irish gleefully spat in the face of Britain's moral conventions because he really had nothing to lose.’
      • ‘If the logic she's employing is accepted without challenge by those who agree with that assessment then they will have collectively spat in the face of the real traditions of the Left.’
      • ‘Not only is the action predictable, but the coincidences on display don't just laugh in the face of believability, they spit in the face of believability and then kick it in the groin repeatedly.’
      • ‘It's a well known fact that all teenagers are constantly committing crimes and spitting in the face of the law.’
    spit chips
    Australian informal
    • Be very angry or frustrated.

      • ‘she will spit chips when she finds out what he has been up to’
      • ‘The artistic director of the festival is spitting chips over the boycott.’
      • ‘Not only does he have an angry bunch of dealers after him, his girlfriend's also spitting chips.’
      • ‘The youngest son will get up to $25 million for being a trustee and his sisters are spitting chips about this.’
      • ‘We rang the company to see if they were spitting chips over the steal, but they didn't get back to us.’
      • ‘He was on the radio spitting chips about this article.’
      • ‘The congressman is spitting chips: "What now concerns me most is what appears to be a campaign of press leaks by the CIA in an effort to discredit the president".’
      • ‘I'm very glad that I wasn't an organiser, because if I were I'd be spitting chips.’
      • ‘I was talking to a chap a few days ago who was spitting chips about the council's eagerness for "development".’
      • ‘The suffragettes would be spitting chips.’
      • ‘He was very careful to avoid criticizing the president, who had some of his colleagues spitting chips for ceding way too much, too soon.’
    spit the dummy
    Australian informal
    • Behave in a bad-tempered or petulant way.

      • ‘So Warren reacts by spitting the dummy and suing!’
      • ‘Passed-over internal CEO candidates are well known for spitting the dummy and defecting to a competitor.’
      • ‘They're so nice about it, and I'm so anxious, that I can't start spitting the dummy down the phone.’
      • ‘But they obviously liked it, and Mark spits the dummy, says all the performances sucked, and storms off.’
      • ‘You have the world's number one bowler deciding to spit the dummy and stay at home because our Prime Minister actually said what many believe.’
      • ‘Tuesday it was Lindsay Tanner's turn to spit the dummy and head for the backbench.’
      • ‘The bank spat the dummy over a light but legitimate pasting in BRW over internal discontent toward its management team in general and its managing director in particular.’
      • ‘I spat the dummy (inside my head) and said OK and immediately walked out, waiting for Missy and Mr J to join me outside.’
      • ‘Or by then Mary might have, like Diana, spat the dummy, thus turning a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale into a Brothers Grimm one.’
      • ‘Gould almost spat the dummy and quit last year, twice, in the face of a barrage of attacks and continual sniping from News Ltd.’
      • ‘Wollongong voters spat the dummy at State and local Labor vandalism by recently electing a Green as their MP in Cunningham.’
      • ‘That was not common sense; that was spitting the dummy.’
      • ‘I have just one criticism of the bill that I think is important, but I was not about to spit the dummy out and throw my teddy bear out of the pram just because I did not get my way on that issue.’
      • ‘‘No wonder she spit the dummy,’ he whispered as Vaun helped the unconscious girl to sit up.’
      • ‘But the Government, rather than accept this decision, basically spat the dummy.’
      • ‘So essentially, Channel Nine spat the dummy at the use of this kind of material by a Channel Ten program?’
      • ‘There's no point in spitting the dummy and behaving like a spoiled child, for yourself or the team.’
      • ‘But ironically the conduct that led to him spitting the dummy was the evident, gross and habitual bias of insurance company expert medical witnesses.’
      • ‘It hurts when people wonder whether you're telling the truth, and even today I read a piece in a local paper which said that I spat the dummy.’
      • ‘Putting in a transfer request is a clear case of an agent spitting the dummy.’
    spit blood
    • Be very angry.

      • ‘This morning Nathan Buckley was on the radio spitting chips about by this article from Chip Le Grand.’
      • ‘If I was Chris Haywood, I would be spitting chips after watching this.’
      • ‘All but one were employed in three popular seafood restaurants owned by the Doyle family, and the Doyles today are spitting chips.’
      • ‘We also rang New Idea to see if they were spitting chips over the steal, but they didn't get back to us.’
      • ‘Sitting beside me at the Liberal launch, writer John Birmingham spat chips - he'd stayed home to look after the baby while his partner stayed working.’
      • ‘Not only does Crest have a drug lord and an angry bunch of dealers after him - his girlfriend's also spitting chips.’
      • ‘Eddington was spitting blood about it at the time, and the only surprise is that this had not taken place sooner.’
      • ‘Casino executives were spitting blood after the latest revision of a policy that has shifted in just a matter of weeks from a sensible liberalisation to something restrictive - unfair and worse than the current rules.’
      • ‘Last week I was spitting blood at AA Gill, this week I'm applauding him.’
      • ‘‘I was spitting blood when I saw the original,’ he said.’
      • ‘‘To be honest, I am spitting blood about this,’ she said.’
      • ‘Yet the Ayrshire side were spitting blood that he did so by awarding the visitors a first half penalty that wasn't, while failing to spot they might have deserved one themselves in the second period.’
      • ‘But leaders in Poland, Hungary and Slovakia are spitting blood because the failure of the budget threatens vital projects in their countries.’
      • ‘One former adviser said: ‘John was spitting blood when he learned of it.’’
      • ‘Pledges to join the European Community and replace short prison sentences with fines would leave modern Tories spitting blood.’
      • ‘European governments are unhappy and most of the bank's staff are spitting blood.’
    spit feathers
    British informal
    • 1Be very thirsty.

      • ‘I'm spitting feathers here, let's have a nice cuppa’
    • 2Be very angry.

      • ‘some fans are spitting feathers over the proposed move’
      • ‘Upon hearing the news the Putin regime in Moscow was said to be spitting feathers.’
      • ‘Colin Todd was spitting feathers behind a locked dressing room door afterwards.’
      • ‘The reporters at that first press conference were, of course, spitting feathers.’
      • ‘The official's decision to send off Jamie left Nicky spitting feathers.’
      • ‘I am told that those in the fishing industry at Fleetwood and Grimsby are spitting feathers.’
      • ‘Driver John Foster was spitting feathers after having six wiper blades pecked to bits in five months.’
      • ‘I amspitting feathers after hearing the government is to increase the cost of prescriptions by 15 p.’
      • ‘Telewest broadband punters are spitting feathers after discovering that the cableco is to start charging for customer support.’
      • ‘Spitting feathers, he was about to ask his wife why she hadn't woken him when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed.’
      • ‘I could spit feathers of frustration and envy as I potter along unexcitedly in my little car.’
    spit tacks
    British informal
    • Be very angry.

      • ‘customers are spitting tacks because they feel they've been duped’

Phrasal Verbs

    spit up
    North American
    • (especially of a baby) vomit or regurgitate food.

      ‘their infants fretted, mewled, and spat up over their jeans’
      • ‘We didn't get the leather because it's leather, we got it because when the baby spits up it's easier to wipe that off leather than cloth.’
      • ‘You might be able to wear the same thing every day, but your baby will undoubtedly begin spitting up after every meal, and your toddler will drip gelato on her dress and crawl in filthy piazzas.’
      • ‘However, regular spitting up or vomiting in infants associated with any of the following symptoms may be a sign of a more serious problem.’
      • ‘‘It seems like just yesterday he was spitting up his food,’ Benny said with a sigh.’
      • ‘But what's normal and what's not when it comes to spitting up or vomiting in infants?’
      • ‘Call the doctor if he is spitting up, drooling, vomiting, or if he has chest or stomach pain.’
      • ‘Colicky babies may spit up just like healthy babies.’
      • ‘If I would be upset if a baby spit up on an outfit, I don't buy it, because I'd rather be available to hold a baby than wear the most delicate fabric in the room.’
      • ‘I'm about the same age as you, and some of us were getting laid in the 80s and having kids then, so hearing about how tired you are and sick of being spit up on is boring.’
      • ‘Almost all infants spit up, but if an infant spits up or throws up almost every time he eats and seems fussy, he may have heartburn.’
      • ‘The study authors theorized that, at the time, many health care professionals feared that infants placed to sleep on their backs might choke on vomit if they happened to spit up during the night.’
      • ‘More likely, he'll spit up on me, or scream in my arms, or steal the rice from my plate of food.’
      • ‘As my wife was holding him, he spat up a little bit.’
      • ‘After having difficulty with choking and spitting up during and after bottle feeds, the parents had turned to a ‘slow-flow’ nipple that they had found in a local department store.’
      • ‘We couldn't figure out why, you know, the one girl kept spitting up.’
      • ‘Leaking pampers and spitting up can soil the material and cause staining.’


Old English spittan, of imitative origin.

Main meanings of spit in English

: spit1spit2spit3


Pronunciation /spɪt/

Translate spit into Spanish


  • 1A long, thin metal rod pushed through meat in order to hold and turn it while it is roasted over an open fire.

    ‘chicken cooked on a spit’
    • ‘He was just hungry and curious enough to follow his nose and went down a new alley, coming upon an Arab with an eye patch over one eye, cooking a hunk of meat on a spit over a open fire.’
    • ‘We bury the skin, fur, head and entrails using a shovel we brought, and then set the meat roasting on a spit on the fire.’
    • ‘Egyptian-style kebabs have chunks of lamb seasoned in onion, marjoram and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and roasted on a spit over an open fire.’
    • ‘Things were cooked in pans on racks over open fires, and meat was roasted on spits.’
    • ‘And, I had to say, it looked great - yurts, the traditional felt tents, to sleep in, and spits over open fires for cooking.’
    • ‘In 1326, when he was about fourteen, he was a happelapin (kitchen boy) to Queen Jeanne of France and was charged with the unenviable task of turning the great roasting spits before the open fire.’
    • ‘He directed a couple of the ranch hands, who had come with him, to unload and help Jelly get the meat on spits and over the fire.’
    • ‘Eana peered at some meat roasting on a spit, and Ziven grabbed Felicity's hand, leading her into the dining room.’
    • ‘The food in Iraq is okay, but it mostly involves roasted meat on a spit.’
    • ‘Antonin prepared the roasts on spits and the cauldrons for boiling meat and fish.’
    • ‘During the 19th century, barbecues on these properties were legendary, with the beef cooking on a spit over a huge fire while ranchers and their ladies danced the night away.’
    • ‘If the carcass is several days old, boil the meat to be safe, then put it on a spit over the fire to improve the taste (a bit).’
    • ‘His duty to the deity over, he and Miri carved up and roasted the remaining parts of the doe on a spit over the fire.’
    • ‘There are a lot of roasted and grilled meats and in fact pork was roasting on a spit in the corner of the garden.’
    • ‘There was a fire going with a spit on it, the skinned deer being cooked to perfection.’
    • ‘They set up a spit over the fire and put the chunks to cook after she smeared some mint, spice and slat seasoning on them.’
    • ‘A fire blazed with a stag roasting on a spit above it, giving off the heavy scent of venison.’
    • ‘They are seasoned with garlic, peppers and oregano, roasted on a spit over a barbecue and then, to the smack of a machete on a chopping board, they are served up with plantains, pumpkin and rice.’
    • ‘On and around them are all sorts of spits, racks, trivets, pans, kettles, cauldrons and hot plates, all fashioned out of black cast iron.’
    • ‘He lassoes one and we jump cut to Smith at night with a fire that has something cooking on a spit.’
    skewer, brochette, rotisserie
    View synonyms
  • 2A narrow point of land projecting into the sea.

    ‘a narrow spit of land shelters the bay’
    • ‘Check in at the exclusive Leela Goa Hotel, which straddles a narrow spit of land between the Sal River and the Arabian Sea in Mobor.’
    • ‘Built on a narrow spit of land dividing Otter Lake from Goulding Lake, the cabin proved to be the perfect base.’
    • ‘Consider Orford Ness, a lonely spit of land that was once the site of military tests and is now owned by the National Trust.’
    • ‘Quick Nick Jones sat in his cabin, poring over maps of large expanses of ocean, dotted with spits of land and islands.’
    • ‘The boatman beaches us on a spit of land leading up to a stone house surrounded by willows.’
    • ‘The other principal theory is that Earhart was able to find a tiny spit of land in the Marshall Islands and both Earhart and Noonan survived.’
    • ‘At this point a spit of land breaks away from the mainland to become the needle-like peninsula of Baja California.’
    • ‘There are two spits of land that jut out toward each other, forming Caldwell's Bay.’
    • ‘Truckload by truckload, rock by rock, the two spits of land are coming closer together.’
    • ‘It was a desolate spit of land with a few trees and thick brush that invited a few adventurous boaters, probably kids looking to get high or have sex, during the summer.’
    • ‘In February 1776, smallpox appeared among Dunmore's troops, who had established a precarious camp on a spit of land near Portsmouth, Virginia.’
    • ‘The next day, they moved a couple of hundred yards downriver to a blighted spit of land below the Burlington Northern bridge.’
    • ‘After lunch we headed for Varadero, a spit of land 50 miles east of Havana that had been turned into a more chilled and friendlier version of Miami Beach.’
    • ‘Death Tower rested on a floating island, high above an evil spit of land, in the distant southwest corner of the world.’
    • ‘In reality this is more of a spit of land than an island, and it was slightly disappointing to find that the causeway wouldn't even be covered until the end of the week.’
    • ‘This arm cuts off a spit of land about three quarters of a mile 1ong, but at its widest only a few hundred yards across.’
    • ‘We had built our base hut on a spit of land near the snout (bottom end) of a huge glacier.’
    • ‘Thousands more remain stranded in trees, on rooftops or on shrinking spits of land, sometimes already waist deep in the water.’
    • ‘He gestured over to a spit of land with what Doremi could see was a small stone building at its end.’
    • ‘A pleasant way to embark on a morning's birding at Okhla is to start off on the spits of land extending into the river near Kalindi Kunj, from where you may get a nice look at the fabled flamingos.’

verbspits, spitting, spitted

[with object]
  • Put a spit through (meat) in order to roast it over an open fire.

    ‘he spitted the rabbit and cooked it’
    • ‘The pieces of meat are spitted on green twigs, which are stuck into the ground in front of a blazing log.’
    • ‘Fire, the most basic source of radiant heat, has been known to man for many thousands of years, and was probably used to roast meat spitted on green wood far back into prehistory.’
    • ‘Some minutes later, once the squirrels were spitted and roasting near the flames, Arun began his first ‘lesson.’’
    • ‘Horsemeat was spitted and roasted rather like a kebab.’
    • ‘Never mind that Kente, get to the fire, and spit those two geese you shot yesterday.’
    • ‘An old woman churns butter, while a woman in the foreground prepares a fowl for roasting and a third man spits a chicken at the far right.’
    • ‘Nearby, the fire I had started had died down to a glowing bank of coals, the skinned carcasses of the rabbits lying nearby: ready to be spitted and cooked.’
    • ‘She spitted the last of the suckling pig that she and Wolf had eaten the night before, and set it rotating above the strong blaze.’
    • ‘But when they had burned the thigh pieces and tasted the vitals, they cut all the remainder into pieces and spitted them.’
    • ‘After this, they are spitted on sharp wooden spits, and hung up in a chimney, built for that purpose, at such distances, that the smoke may have free access to them all.’


Old English spitu, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch spit and German Spiess.

Main meanings of spit in English

: spit1spit2spit3


Pronunciation /spɪt/

Translate spit into Spanish

nounspit, spits

  • A layer of earth whose depth is equal to the length of the blade of a spade.

    • ‘break up the top spit with a fork’


Early 16th century from Middle Dutch and Middle Low German; probably related to spit.