Origin of spear

1
before 900; Middle English (noun), Old English spere; cognate with Dutch, German speer
Related formsspear·er, noun

spear

2
[speer]

noun

a sprout or shoot of a plant, as a blade of grass or an acrospire of grain.

verb (used without object)

to sprout; shoot; send up or rise in a spear or spears.

Origin of spear

2
1520–30; variant of spire1, perhaps influenced by spear1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for spear

Contemporary Examples of spear

Historical Examples of spear

  • One of them gave me his spear, which was very blunt, and I sharpened it for him.

  • Let him then name the gentleman with whom he would break a spear.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • This is what happened: from one of the shenzis you traded a spear, or a spear was given you.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • "A shenzi has killed Mavrouki with a spear," the man answered her question.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • If our men get to fooling with their women, they'll spear the lot of us!

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White


British Dictionary definitions for spear

spear

1

noun

a weapon consisting of a long shaft with a sharp pointed end of metal, stone, or wood that may be thrown or thrust
a similar implement used to catch fish
another name for spearman

verb

to pierce (something) with or as if with a spear
Derived Formsspearer, noun

Word Origin for spear

Old English spere; related to Old Norse spjör spears, Greek sparos gilthead

spear

2

noun

a shoot, slender stalk, or blade, as of grass, asparagus, or broccoli

Word Origin for spear

C16: probably variant of spire 1, influenced by spear 1
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 spear
n.1

Old English spere, from Proto-Germanic *speri (cf. Old Norse spjör, Old Saxon, Old Frisian sper, Dutch speer, Old High German sper, German Speer "spear"), from PIE root *sper- "spear, pole" (cf. Old Norse sparri "spar, rafter," and perhaps also Latin sparus "hunting spear").

n.2

"sprout of a plant," 1540s, variant of spire.

v.

1755, from spear (n.1). Related: Speared; spearing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper