[for a flame] to go out in little puffs. The candle flame flickered and sputtered out. The fire sputtered out after midnight and we all got very cold before down.
sputter something out
to utter something while stuttering or faltering. (As when one is physically or mentally disoriented.) She was so excited she could hardly sputter her name out. He could only sputter out a few words.
To make irregular spitting or popping sounds and gradually stop functioning: The motor emitted a puff of smoke and sputtered out.