or speil

[ speel ]
/ spil /
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verb (used with or without object) Scot. and North England.
to climb; ascend; mount.
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Origin of speel

First recorded in 1505–15; origin uncertain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does speel mean?

To speel is to climb or scale something, such as a wall or a hill.

Speel is a Scots term for climb that is primarily used in Scots, as well as in Scottish-English and Northern UK English dialects. It is normally used to describe climbing a short distance.

Speel can also mean to mount, as in to climb onto something, usually a horse.

This speel can also be spelled speil.

In Manchester, England, a speel is also a splinter of wood, such as one that is lodged in the skin.

Example: Let’s see how fast you can speel that hillside!

Where does speel come from?

The first records of the verb speel in English come from around the 1510s. Its exact origin is unknown, but it may be a back formation from speeler, a Scottish term meaning “performer or acrobat.” The first records of the noun speel come from around the 1440s. It’s part of the dialect of English from Manchester, England, and is of Scandinavian origin.

The term spiel, meaning “an extravagant speech,” is often misspelled speil or speel and accounts for many instances of both spellings on social media.

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What are some other forms related to speel?

  • speil (alternative spelling)

What are some synonyms for speel?

What are some words that often get used in discussing speel?

What are some words speel may be commonly confused with?

Try using speel!

Is speel used correctly in the following sentence?

Ouch! I got a speel in my finger from that old ladder!

How to use speel in a sentence

  • There's a nail upon the tae, &c To make the powny speel the brae; There's a nail and there's a brod—a horse weel shod.

British Dictionary definitions for speel

/ (spiːl) /

Manchester dialect a splinter of wood

Word Origin for speel

probably from Old Norse; compare Norwegian spela, spila, Swedish spjela, spjele spill ²
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