To speak (a language) without fluency.
To study or approach superficially; dabble in.
Smattered on about her vacation.
To speak or utter (a language, words, etc.) with only slight knowledge.
To study or learn (a subject) superficially.
Origin of smatter
- Middle English smateren to make dirty, speak foolishly, chatter
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Middle English smateren. Compare Swedish smattra, Danish and Norwegian smadre (all of which mean to patter), German schmettern (“to resound").