Is it ok to say "Blood was spurting from the wound"? Or will you imagine that a cut already has been made started spurting blood suddenly?

What does 'spurt' convey? Suddenness? Speed? Amount in a time?

-- addition as requested -- from Oxford Dictionary

1.[intransitive, transitive] (of liquid or flames) to burst or pour out suddenly; to produce sudden, powerful streams of liquid or flames

  • Blood was spurting from her nose.
  • Red and yellow flames spurted out of the fire.
  • Her nose was spurting blood.
  • The volcano spurted clouds of steam and ash high into the air.

    1. [intransitive] to increase your speed for a short time to get somewhere faster
  • She spurted past me to get to the line first.
  • Please edit your question to tell us what definition you found in the dictionary, which dictionary you found it in (with a link) and what about that definition leaves you with unanswered questions.
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 22:05
  • Your sentence does not imply causation- just result. Whether the cut was made now or in the past is not conveyed- all it says is that right then blood was spurting from the wound.
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 22:09

3 Answers 3


If I understand the author's question correctly, the general usage for "spurt" simply suggests short, sudden strength :)

Seriously though, the primary, explicit meaning is "suddenness," but the secondary meaning of "relatively large amount in a small time" is also implicitly understood. To use the author's original example,

"Blood was spurting from the wound,"

is a perfectly acceptable usage, but in this case, the explicit meaning is "relatively large amount in a small time," while the sense of "suddenness" is implicit. Depending on the context, it's equally possible to believe that the spurt began when the wound was made, or unexpectedly started afterwards.


"Spurt" means a liquid in an enclosed vessel or body ejecting (through its inherent pressure of being in an compressed or enclosed space) outward due to it being set free, either by the vessel being opened or cut. The idea is generally something is under pressure, or has built up pressure, and then its container has opened, letting it out.

It's less strong than a spray and more strong than a leak, ooze, or trickle.

  • 1
    Mostly true, but at the risk of indelicacy, "spurt" is the verb ordinarily used to describe ejaculation, and no cutting or opening is implied. Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 3:27
  • I first encountered this word in the phrase "last spurt". Do natives commonly use this phrase in sports or games to describe the final hustle or exertion of the players?
    – karlalou
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 4:52
  • How about "start dash"? Do natives commonly say like.. "The horses made a great start dash"?
    – karlalou
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 4:59
  • 1
    In regard to racers, human and equine: yes, a last spurt is a greater effort and speed at the end. You could also call it a "burst of energy" or a "sprint to the finish" or (usually if unsuccessful) a "last-ditch effort". But I have not heard "dash start" for a beginning burst of speed, either for people or horses. I have heard things like "burst/shot out of the blocks" for a human sprinter, or "strong out of the gate" for a horserace. But I'm no fan of horse-racing; others probably know many other terms. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 8:28
  • 1
    @ColeenV: I feel like "spurt" also has a bit more of a connotation of a pressurized liquid, or one being forced through a narrow hole, while "gush" sounds more like a liquid flowing freely.
    – sumelic
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 3:37

Suddenness is an important part of 'spurt'.

If blood is spurting, it is shooting out in short, powerful blasts known as 'spurts'. There will be a spurt for each beat of the heart. Each spurt starts and stops suddenly.

If the blood were coming out continuously at the same rate, then it might be 'pouring' or 'flowing', but not 'spurting'.

Saying that "blood was spurting from the wound" doesn't imply how long ago the wound may have been made, or whether the blood started spurting immediately or took a while to begin. It's just a statement about the current state of affairs, where blood is coming out of the wound in short, sudden bursts.

If blood is spurting out of a person's wound, it won't last long. A wound that is spurting is losing a lot of blood. Either the wound will be treated and the bleeding will stop, or the person will die.

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