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[spoon] /spun/
a utensil for use in eating, stirring, measuring, ladling, etc., consisting of a small, shallow bowl with a handle.
any of various implements, objects, or parts resembling or suggesting this.
Also called spoon bait. Angling. a lure used in casting or trolling for fish, consisting of a bright spoon-shaped piece of metal or the like, swiveled above one or more fishhooks, and revolving as it is drawn through the water.
Also called number three wood. Golf. a club with a wooden head whose face has a greater slope than the brassie or driver, for hitting long, high drives from the fairway.
a curved piece projecting from the top of a torpedo tube to guide the torpedo horizontally and prevent it from striking the side of the ship from which it was fired.
verb (used with object)
to eat with, take up, or transfer in or as in a spoon.
to hollow out or shape like a spoon.
  1. to push or shove (a ball) with a lifting motion instead of striking it soundly, as in croquet or golf.
  2. to hit (a ball) up in the air, as in cricket.
to nestle in close contact with (another), as when both are lying on their sides with their knees drawn up, so that the back of one person is tucked into the front of the other, like the bowls of two spoons:
He moved over and spooned her, pressing himself gently against her warm back as she slept.
Older Use. to show affection or love toward (someone) by kissing and caressing, especially in an openly sentimental manner.
verb (used without object)
(of two people) to nestle in close contact with one another, as when both are lying on their sides with their knees drawn up, the back of one person tucked into the front of the other like the bowls of two spoons:
They spooned without shifting position the whole night through.
Older Use. to show affection or love by kissing and caressing, especially in an openly sentimental manner.
Games. to spoon a ball.
Angling. to fish with a spoon.
born with a silver spoon in one's mouth, born into a wealthy family; having an inherited fortune:
She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and never worked a day in her life.
Origin of spoon
before 900; Middle English; Old English spōn; cognate with Low German spon, German Span chip, Old Norse spōnn; akin to Greek sphḗn wedge
Related forms
spoonless, adjective
spoonlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for spooning
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And then, as to the spooning, it was partie gale, the lady was no worse off than the gentleman.

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
  • A fellow has a sort of feeling about a girl when he has been spooning on her himself.

    Kept in the Dark

    Anthony Trollope
  • But as even Cæsar nods, so an astronomer may lapse into spooning.

    Historic Oddities Sabine Baring-Gould
  • What is the relation of spooning to the sex problems of young people?

  • What is the relation of spooning to a young mans sex problems?

  • The latter was frequently so fluid that spooning was unnecessary.

    Prisoner for Blasphemy G. W. [George William] Foote
  • I don't say I haven't—I don't know what you'd call it, I suppose you'd call it spooning.

    Spring Days George Moore
  • spooning is good fun, but it comes to an end so soon one way or another.

    Marion Fay

    Anthony Trollope
  • But in this case the spooning had to be curtailed and postponed.

    A Book of Ghosts Sabine Baring-Gould
British Dictionary definitions for spooning


a metal, wooden, or plastic utensil having a shallow concave part, usually elliptical in shape, attached to a handle, used in eating or serving food, stirring, etc
Also called spoonbait. an angling lure for spinning or trolling, consisting of a bright piece of metal which swivels on a trace to which are attached a hook or hooks
(golf) a former name for a No. 3 wood
(informal) a foolish or useless person
(Brit) wooden spoon, another name for booby prize
(rowing) a type of oar blade that is curved at the edges and tip to gain a firm grip on the water Compare spade1 (sense 4)
be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth, to inherit wealth or social standing
(transitive) to scoop up or transfer (food, liquid, etc) from one container to another with or as if with a spoon
(intransitive) (slang, old-fashioned) to kiss and cuddle
to hollow out (a cavity or spoon-shaped bowl) (in something)
(sport) to hit (a ball) with a weak lifting motion, as in golf, cricket, etc
Word Origin
Old English spōn splinter; related to Old Norse spōnn spoon, chip, Old High German spān
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 spooning



Old English spon "chip, shaving," from Proto-Germanic *spænuz (cf. Old Norse spann, sponn "chip, splinter," Swedish spån "a wooden spoon," Old Frisian spon, Middle Dutch spaen, Dutch spaan, Old High German span, German Span "chip, splinter"), from PIE *spe- "long, flat piece of wood" (cf. Greek sphen "wedge").

The meaning "eating utensil" is c.1300 in English (in Old English such a thing might be a metesticca), probably from Old Norse sponn, which meant "spoon" as well as "chip, tile" (development of the "eating utensil" sense is specific to Middle English and Scandinavian, though Middle Low German spon also meant "wooden spatula"). Spoon-feed is from 1610s; figurative sense is attested by 1864. To be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth is from 1801.



1715, "to dish out with a spoon," from spoon (n.). The meaning "court, flirt sentimentally" is first recorded 1831, from slang noun spoon "simpleton" (1799), a figurative use based on the notion of shallowness. Related: Spooned; spooning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for spooning



  1. neck, pet
  2. To flirt; woo (1831+)

Related Terms

greasy spoon

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with spooning
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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