a chip or splinter, as of stone or ore.

verb (used with object)

to break into smaller pieces, as ore; split or chip.

verb (used without object)

to break or split off in chips or bits.

Origin of spall

1750–60; origin uncertain; compare late Middle English spalle a chip
Related formsspall·er, nounnon·spall·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spalling

Contemporary Examples of spalling

Historical Examples of spalling

  • The principle is the same as that which causes the “spalling” of stones in buildings during fires.


    William J. Miller

British Dictionary definitions for spalling



a splinter or chip of ore, rock, or stone


to split or cause to split into such fragments

Word Origin for spall

C15: 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

Word Origin and History for spalling



"chip of stone," mid-15c., from Middle English verb spald "to split open" (early 14c.), from or related to Middle Dutch spalden, Middle Low German spalden, cognate with Old High German spaltan "to split" (see spill (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper