- to speak or utter (a language, words, etc.) with only slight knowledge
- to study or learn (a subject) superficially
Origin of smatterMiddle English smateren, to chatter, probably akin to Middle High German smetern, to chatter, gossip, of echoic origin, originally
verbsmat·tered, smat·ter·ing, smat·ters
- To speak (a language) without fluency: smatters Russian.
- To study or approach superficially; dabble in.
Origin of smatterMiddle English smateren, to make dirty, speak foolishly, chatter.
(third-person singular simple present smatters, present participle smattering, simple past and past participle smattered)
From Middle English smateren. Compare Swedish smattra, Danish and Norwegian smadre (all of which mean to patter), German schmettern (“to resound”).