Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Origin: smatter 'to splash, talk with little knowledge' (15-19 centuries)

smattering

noun
     
smat‧ter‧ing [singular]
1 a small number or amount of something
smattering of
a smattering of applause
2

have a smattering of something

to have a small amount of knowledge about a subject, especially a foreign language

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