1

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/russians-march-defiance-west-display-unity-144938502.html

In a typically fiery speech, populist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky hailed Putin for reclaiming Crimea from Ukraine in March and spat defiance at the West over sanctions imposed in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

How do you understand that phrase?

3

Aggressively spoke his defiance.

Said defiant things in a hostile or aggressive manner.

spit
1.3 [WITH OBJECT] Utter in a hostile or aggressive way:
Example: she spat abuse at the jury

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/spit

More examples:

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.

Informally, one might say that he "got shirty" .

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  • My reading of your second "More examples" example is that the person was both shouted at and actually spat upon. Saliva was involved. Normally when it's figurative spitting there is an object to the verb. (Spat abuse, spitting insults, that sort of thing.) – Jason Patterson Nov 5 '14 at 2:50
  • @JasonPatterson: you may well be right there. Perhaps we should take it up with Oxford Dictionaries. – A E Nov 5 '14 at 9:34

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