'Stutter' or 'Studder': Which is Correct?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on February 19, 2023

Should you say 'stutter' or 'studder'? And what does it mean? That's what you're about to find out.

In short, 'studder' is a misspelling of the word 'stutter.' The only correct spelling for the speech disorder is 'stutter.'

Should You Say 'Stutter' or 'Studder'?

There's common confusion about the spelling of the word 'stutter,' and many people end up spelling it 'studder.' The reason why is a mystery. Perhaps because the spelling is so similar, or maybe it's a merging of the words 'shudder' and 'stutter.' Your guess is as good as mine!

In any case, the only correct spelling is 'stutter.' But what does it mean?

What Does 'Stutter' Mean?

The word 'stutter' refers to a speech disorder that causes one to involuntarily double up on certain word sounds or repeat entire syllables or words.

A famous case of stuttering is showcased in the movie "The King's Speech," where King George VI is tasked with making an important speech and hires a speech and language therapist to help him overcome his stuttering.

The British equivalent of the word is 'stammer.'

'Stutter' can be either a noun or a verb, depending on how you use it. If you say:

He has a mild stutter.

then it's a noun, noticeable because of the article 'a' that precedes it and the adjective 'mild' that qualifies it.

Now here, it is used as a verb:

He's starting to stutter.

Of course, when using the verb form, you can conjugate it into all the different tenses, depending on the tense of your sentence. For example:

He's been stuttering since he was a child.

The word has its roots in the Middle Low German word stoten, "to knock, strike against, collide," and also the Dutch word stuiten "to stop, check, arrest, stem," among many others.

What Does 'Studder' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a 'studder' as a worker who inserts watch hairsprings into studs. No other dictionary lists a definition for the word, other than the few who list it as a misspelling of the word 'stutter.'

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Stutter'

Now we're going to learn how to pronounce the word 'stutter,' which is ironic considering that to stutter is to struggle with the pronunciation of words. Nonetheless, whether you've experienced stuttering first-hand in your life or not, you have a right to know how to say the word.

'Stutter' rhymes with 'butter,' 'clutter,' and 'gutter.' It's pronounced like this:

[ stuht-er ]

And according to the International Phonetics Alphabet, it's spelled this way:

/ ˈstʌt ər /

When to Use 'Stutter'

So now you know the correct way to spell the word and what it means, but do you know when to use it? To solidify your understanding, we'll now take a look at some examples of the word used in context.

Also, when in its verb form, I'll be using the root form of the verb as well as its many conjugations. I'll also use the noun.

You'd be surprised how many Americans are affected by stuttering.

People who stutter can be pretty self-conscious about themselves.

When I joined theatre class, I thought my stutter would be an impediment, but I turned it into a strength.

I stuttered all the way through high school, and then it suddenly stopped like magic.

As though under some kind of curse, all she could do was stutter when around him.

Concluding Thoughts on 'Stutter' or 'Studder'

I hope this article has helped you feel more confident about using the word 'stutter' and how to spell it. Let's summarize what we've learned:

  • 'Stutter' is the only correct spelling
  • 'Studder' is an incorrect spelling
  • A 'stutter' is a speech disorder that causes you to trip up on certain words or repeat sounds or entire syllables or words

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more, head to our Confusing Words blog now!

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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