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[spav-in] /ˈspæv ɪn/
noun, Veterinary Pathology.
a disease of the hock joint of horses in which enlargement occurs because of collected fluids (bog spavin) bony growth (bone spavin) or distention of the veins (blood spavin)
an excrescence or enlargement so formed.
Origin of spavin
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English spaveyne < Old French (e)spavain, esparvain swelling < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for spavin
Historical Examples
  • There was not a hitch in a settlement, nor a spavin in your stables, could escape him.

  • "All the coaches are full with the men going down," spavin said.

    The History of Pendennis William Makepeace Thackeray
  • A spavin was apparent in one leg, while on another was a great ringbone.

    The Boys of Old Monmouth Everett T. Tomlinson
  • The mule may not be so liable to spavin as the horse, but he has ringbone just the same.

    The Mule Harvey Riley
  • They can, however, be relieved by the same process as recommended in spavin.

    The Mule Harvey Riley
  • "More by token, with a spavin," whispered another; while a roar of laughter followed the joke.

    Jack Hinton Charles James Lever
  • Yes, it's lucky for me old spavin being laid up like this—gives me a regular little outing, do you see?

    Lyre and Lancet F. Anstey
  • I'll wire old spavin that I'm detained on biz; and I'll tell 'em to send my riding-breeches and dress-clothes down!

    Lyre and Lancet F. Anstey
  • He felt of her muscles, and carefully scrutinized her for swelling or swinney or splint or spavin or thoroughpin.

    Vandemark's Folly Herbert Quick
  • I'll wire old spavin that I'm detained on biz; and I'll tell 'em to send my riding-breeches down!

British Dictionary definitions for spavin


(vet science) enlargement of the hock of a horse by a bony growth (bony spavin) or fluid accumulation in the joint (bog spavin), usually caused by inflammation or injury, and often resulting in lameness
Word Origin
C15: from Old French espavin, of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for spavin

disease of the hock joint of a horse, early 15c., from Middle French espavain, perhaps from Frankish *sparwan "sparrow" (see sparrow), so called perhaps from comparison of the bird's awkward gait to that of a horse affected with spavin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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