Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[sproos] /sprus/
adjective, sprucer, sprucest.
trim in dress or appearance; neat; smart; dapper.
verb (used with object), spruced, sprucing.
to make spruce or smart (often followed by up):
Spruce up the children before the company comes.
verb (used without object), spruced, sprucing.
to make oneself spruce (usually followed by up).
Origin of spruce2
1580-90; obsolete spruce jerkin orig., jerkin made of spruce leather, i.e., leather imported from Prussia (see spruce1), hence fine, smart, etc.
Related forms
sprucely, adverb
spruceness, noun
unspruced, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for sprucing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Since his money-feathers were beginning to grow again he felt like sprucing about.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • "sprucing up" is West Point for the morning house-cleaning in the summer camp.

    On Guard

    Upton Sinclair
  • “Jack is sprucing up for the girls,” observed Pepper, with a wink at Andy.

    The Putnam Hall Cadets

    Arthur M. Winfield
British Dictionary definitions for sprucing


any coniferous tree of the N temperate genus Picea, cultivated for timber and for ornament: family Pinaceae. They grow in a pyramidal shape and have needle-like leaves and light-coloured wood See also Norway spruce, blue spruce, white spruce, black spruce
the wood of any of these trees
Word Origin
C17: short for Spruce fir, from C14 Spruce Prussia, changed from Pruce, via Old French from Latin Prussia


neat, smart, and trim
Derived Forms
sprucely, adverb
spruceness, noun
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Spruce leather a fashionable leather imported from Prussia; see spruce1
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for sprucing



"evergreen tree," 1660s, from spruse (adj.) "made of spruce wood" (early 15c.), literally "from Prussia," from Spruce, Sprws (late 14c.), unexplained alterations of Pruce "Prussia," from an Old French form of Prussia. Spruce seems to have been a generic term for commodities brought to England by Hanseatic merchants (beer, board, leather, see spruce (v.)), and the tree was believed to have come from Prussia.



1590s, from the adjective meaning "to make trim or neat," from spruce leather (mid-15c., see spruce (n.)), which was used to make a popular style of jerkins in the 1400s that was considered smart-looking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for sprucing

Word Value for sprucing

Scrabble Words With Friends